School Teacher Beaten and Robbed on the Metropolitan Branch Trail


Washington Post reports:

“A charter school teacher walking on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Northeast Washington was beaten and robbed Thursday night by a large group of assailants, according to D.C. police.”


From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating multiple persons of interest in connection with a robbery force and violence which occurred in the 600 Block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE.

On Thursday, October 31, 2013, at approximately 9:15 pm, an adult male victim was walking in the area of the 600 Block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE when one of 10 persons gathered announced a robbery and the entire group assaulted him, took his property, and fled the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The persons of interest are described as black males between 18 to 22 years of age.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099.”

In June we spoke about a cyclist attacked on the MBT at that time MPD responded to concerns here.

64 Comment

  • How fucking horrible.

  • That sucks and speedy recovery to the victim.
    But yeah, you couldn’t pay me money to be on the MBT by myself after sundown on foot. That’s a no go, regardless of how much time it might save.

  • This trail is BAD NEWS BEARS!!! So much has happened, it needs constant patroling.. it’s craziness

  • justinbc

    “one of 10 persons gathered announced a robbery”
    Did he actually count each individual person as they were beating him or was there some surveillance footage here?

  • degenerates

  • Do most of the assaults on this trail happen north of Rhode Island avenue?

  • I’ve had to be on the MBT a couple times right at or after dusk on my bike. I’m always wary of any group more than two on the trail and I always have my bike lock handy just in case.

    • gotryit

      It’s actually pretty hard to swing a bike lock while riding a bike – try it once on a soft surface. It really knocks the balance out of whack.

  • i love biking around and exploring the local trails but have been avoiding this trail like the plague because of the frequency of these attacks

  • Ugh, horrible. I run on this trail a few times a week, almost always after work, and now that it’s dark @ 5 I think it’s time to find a new option.

    That said, I’ve never felt unsafe on this trail and very rarely have I ever seen a group of 10+ people on it.

    There are construction crews working on a pedestrian bridge that will connect the “mall” parking lot with the RI Ave. Metro. I wonder if the improved access to the trail offered by the bridge will have an impact for the better (or worse).

  • The city needs to commit to building retail and housing along the path. Right now there’s a lot of abandoned space, warehouses, unfinished housing, etc for huge stretches. The problem is its sort of a no mans land where anything goes- anybody can do anything to someone else with impunity. I have little faith that the police can keep the peace unless the entire are is transformed.

    • This is so true. There is that empty Pepco lot just north of NY Ave that has been empty forever. Unfortunately, it isn’t zoned for residential. That is where the biker was attacked.

      Pepco and the city really need to be pressed into selling this lot and rezoning it to be more attractive to buyers. I know Pepco has been have-heartedly trying to sell it, but it needs to be done.

    • The issue with the MBT is a chicken-egg problem – the more people you get in the area, the safer it will become. However, people are repelled from the trail because of the sketchy folks hanging out on it and the desolate stretches. You’ve already automatically eliminated half the population from using the trail (sensible women) because of these issues.
      The area immediately abutting the trail will need to be developed if the MBT is to ever be considered a success (similar to the Highline in NYC). Unfortunately, it’s not a very picturesque area and the railyards don’t have many redeeming aesthetic qualities.

      • I agree most of your points. I ride this trail regularly during the early end of the evening rush hour when it’s light out and there are always other commuters around, but because I’m a woman I’m not sensible? There are many things that can contribute to one’s sense of safety on the trail – being alert, riding in a group, time of day, or day of the week. It’s unfair to make sweeping generalizations based on gender.

        • Unfortunately, a lot of women are scared to take the trail. That’s not to say that you’re not sensible. But how are you going to attract more people to the MBT when LOTS of women go out of their way to avoid it? I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that there’s a lot more places a single man will go, whereas a single woman won’t go there. The MBT is one of those places.

          • Get this trail more popular with MAMIL’s (Middle Aged Men (cyclists) in Lycra.

            Riding in packs, as far as possible.

            WaBa trail rangers are good, but this requires flooding the zone. Shock and Awe.

          • You’re right that lots of people, women included, go out of their way to avoid the trail, but there’s no need to place those of us who do use the trail in the “non-sensible” category based on our gender.

            ValiantCyclist – I suspect that this trail isn’t popular with MAMILs because the off-road portion where these incidents occur is only 1.5 miles long. Not quite as efficient as doing laps around Hains Point. Finishing the trail will increase the number of users and thus its safety.

          • as a 35 yo 6’3″ 195lbs guy who likes to ride bikes and could use the trail to go to and from work – these incidents make me completely uninterested.

        • Seriously, way to condescend with the “sensible women” reference. And not even very logical given that the victim in this case was a male, and I seem to remember several other past reports about MBT assaults (many of them posted here, although I haven’t gone back through them to confirm gender) involving male victims. Yes, some criminals will target women, believing them to be “weaker.” Some will target older victims for the same reason. Some criminals will target victims because they look wealthier and likely to have cash or an expensive phone. And I’m sure some criminals probably just think their victim looks like a yuppie/hipster d-bag and think it would be funny to f*ck them up.

  • pablo .raw

    I can see the MBT from my (tiny) office window. It is such a wonderful trail, I can be in Union Station in less than 10 minutes. So unfortunate that so many people have been attacked there.

  • does it really matter he was a teacher? this would be bad to happen to any profession.

    • No. But what details of this do matter? Does it matter the time? Or the race, age, sex or the perps?
      Not really.

    • Was wondering this too. Was thinking maybe it had something to do with him being a teacher? Like the kids (assuming they were “kids”) knew him from school and didn’t like him or something?

      Either way it’s awful and I think everyone can agree that something needs to be done to improve the safety of this trail.

    • You have read other news articles before, right? They generally provide details about the people in the article – age, occupation, sex, etc. Would you prefer journalism with no details?
      “Person attacked somewhere in DC by a group of other people”

  • Horrible story.

    Not to nit-pick the article, but why does it matter than he was a school teacher? I don’t think he was walking home from school at that hour…

    • It doesn’t matter from the crime report perspective, but it does matter from the perspective of the social narrative. School teachers are on the front lines of the struggle to intervene in cycles of exclusion (note, this is not always the same thing as poverty) that are so entangled with criminal behavior. In my opinion, while this type of crime being committed against anyone is tragic and entirely unacceptable, that a teacher was the victim is particularly heartbreaking.

      • On top of that, the article does mention that he was near his school and managed to make it back there and get help. Obviously, I don’t know what exactly this person’s scheule was, but it’s an unfortunate misconception that teachers clear out as soon as the dismissal bell rings. Lots of teachers (especially newer teachers, highly-dedicated teachers, teachers who work at a charter depending on that school’s organizational culture, and teachers who work with children who have special needs or substantial academic challenges) work long days for any number of reasons: after-school/evening events, parent meetings, classroom cleanup/organization, grading papers, lesson planning, miscellaneous paperwork, and so on.

  • It’s not mentioned in this post but the teacher was robbed for $260 cash. I rarely have more than a tenner on me these days in actual cash. I find it weird that they just happened to rob the one guy who happened to have a load of greenbacks in his pocket.

    • There’s a social/ cultural thing at play there. I never carry more than a few bucks either, but I know that older folks and minorities are two groups more likely to have larger amounts of cash. My father in law, who is both, never goes out without a bankroll, no matter how many times we tell him to just use his bank card. He’s all “nah, I don’t want to bother folks… people prefer cash.”

    • you think insurance fraud maybe?

      • insurance wouldn’t cover a $260 cash loss (what type of insurance were you thinking would?). this is incredibly insulting to the victim, you should be ashamed of yourself.

        • Ditto Anon 12:14. I mean, there is phone insurance, but why go through the hassle of getting beaten up when one could easily just claim that a group of kids ran by and snached the phone out of your hand? Plus, any higher-dollar type of fraud intended to reap a monetary civil settlement against the perpetrators is unlikely for several big reasons. One, that’s a huge long shot. Two, the perps would need to be found. And three, typically in fraud cases (auto insurance fraud is probably the most popular), the scammer is not *that * injured, but claims a more serious level of damage/impact on their life related to a type of injury that is especially hard to definitively prove or disprove AND is in cahoots with a private doctor who, posing as an impartial medical professional, greatly exaggerates the extent of the injury. That would be extremely hard to do in a situation where hospital physicians and the police are involved.

      • I was thinking low level drug deal gone bad, actually.

    • How is it that weird? It adds insult to injury for the victim, to be sure–but while lots of people carry very little cash, plenty of people still do carry cash, and some people (like me) make it a habit not to carry much cash but very rarely have a bunch on hand for a specific reason. For example, I take out a bunch of cash every few months when I get my hair done, because my stylist prefers to be paid that way, and I like to accommodate her. Or sometimes I agree to buy tickets or something for a whole group of friends and the next time we meet up, they all pay me back their share; or when we have a group dinner, and one person pays the single check on their card, and the rest give that person cash for their portion of the food/drinks…any number of circumstances. If the attackers were walking in front of the guy, it seems unlikely they’d followed him knowing he had cash (like, if they’d seen him withdraw money from an ATM); I’m guessing they assumed their robbery would get them an iPhone and maybe a little cash, and the fact that this guy happened to have lots of cash was just gravy. I’m not sure what kind of fraud scheme would involve getting yourself severely beaten up by 10 young adults (or even beaten up by one person, for that matter)

    • Really? You’ve never taken $200 out of the atm? I do that once a month or so. Still bad luck but its hardly “weird”.

  • andy

    speaking of maps, a map of where people keep getting attacked on the MBT would be of interest. I would like to use it, but fully informed.

      • I combed through a few news sources to compile a (very unofficial) list of violent incidents on the trail between July 2011 and today’s incident. These are my (again: very unofficial) findings: I’d love to see someone take a real and meticulous stab at this. Just as a first swipe through available info, this was pretty interesting. Are the incidents *really* this concentrated geographically?

        By the way, these mostly occurred between 6 and 9:30 pm, with a few outliers (the incident up by CUA happened at 9:30 am, and one of the incidents in that cluster by R Street NE was 8:15 am).

  • The Post article says is happened on the MBT, but the MPD post says is happened on the 600 block of RI. Where did this actually take place?

    • It is my understanding that MPD doesn’t have the ability to tag incidents that are not associated with streets. Therefore, they will tag it to the closest intersection or block.

  • I’m not out to blame the victim, but the article does state that the victim was on the phone. Just a reminder to be completely cognizant of your surroundings every-single-second and if you notice something following your instincts and bail if you can. Do not even have your phone visible, ever.

  • OMG people, STAY OFF THIS TRAIL!!! You will get attacked. Its basically a given at this point.

    • justinbc

      This would be a great announcement, if every citizen of DC just happened to be reading this blog post.


    • This is just not true. As I posted above, I run on this trail multiple times a week and have never had an issue.

      Sometimes there are police officers on motorcycles riding the trail and I’ve seen what appear to be volunteer “path patrols” — groups of bikers wearing reflective vests that monitor the trail as a group. Once or twice I’ve even seen them handing out coffee.

      Scaring people and telling them to stay away from this path — or any part of the city for that matter — can only serve to make the problem worse.

      • it is just a matter of time. you are out of your mind to run alone on this trail. coworker of mine got beaten during the day on saturday while running a couple of months back.

        • gotryit

          Do you drive a car? It’s just a matter of time before you get injured in a car wreck. A coworker of mine got into an accident a couple of months back.

      • That was done by WABA (Washington Area Bicyclists Association).

        I don’t know if they will now restart those patrols.

  • You should not have to avoid areas because you will be beaten, but sometimes that is how it goes. It is not a smart move to be in an area such as this on Halloween night.

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