“I witnessed several times pedestrians, bicyclist, and drivers going north on 11th st NW get peppered by fireworks”

Fire at Garfield Terrace in April 2014

“Dear PoPville,

I wanted to warn people who walk/bike/drive or park along 2400 block of 11th Street NW, east side in front of Garfield Terrace Apartments.

Yesterday evening, 6:30pm, I witnessed several times pedestrians, bicyclist, and drivers going north on 11th st NW get peppered by fireworks thrown on them by a tenants from the balconies of Garfield Terrace. The main perpetrator was an African-American male, shirtless and wearing only flip-flops and grey jogging pants and he was lighting fireworks and throwing them down on unsuspecting victims and then dashing inside. He was doing this from 3rd floor balcony, closest intersection is 11th and Clifton St NW, and working with his young neighbors in adjacent balcony by throwing firecrackers simultaneously.

I also witness the same shirtless man bring out a child in diapers while doing this and I called 911 and gave them all the description and my information. I was with my son on the westside 11th st NW, sidewalk going uphill next to Cardozo HS., when I started to hear fireworks and I was disturbed to see a grown man involve children and even a small infant completely disregard anyone safety. Both MPD and Housing Police showed up but unless they witness they actions all they officers could do was patrol.”

Ed. Note: Previously we’ve had reports of rocks and bb guns being fired at cyclists on this section of 11th Street.

51 Comment

  • The police can’t do anything about an assault unless they witness it? Really MPD?

  • What? Trouble from the fine residents of Garfield Terrace??? What a shocker.
    Seriously, I stopped biking past that section of 11th st ages ago. That bldg is nothing but a hot spot for juvenile/young adult thuggery.

    What used to be on that property anyway? The grand old iron fencing around it makes me think there was probably a nice mansion on it once (and unfortunately became this piece of blight)…..

  • gotryit

    “Both MPD and Housing Police showed up but unless they witness they actions all they officers could do was patrol.”
    MPD can’t do anything about an assault unless they witness it? I call BS. Did any of the people getting crap tossed at them stick around to talk to the police?

    • Wings-of-Pastrami

      If I were on a bike, foot or driving and that happened, I probably wouldn’t stick around either… short bursts of *bangs* *pops* & *booms* would be enough to get my happy ass up the hill quick-smart.

      Maybe video tape of these fools would be enough for the DC’s finest to get a visual?

      • gotryit

        I don’t mean stick around within range of the a-holes. I mean stick around the vicinity, and report it to the police. File a complaint instead of letting it roll off.

  • I was at Cardozo high school playing soccer on Sunday and someone was threw some form of fireworks from over the south side fence onto the track. I could hear more fireworks go off as they continued moving east down Florida Ave. Be careful!

  • This is a real issue that needs to be addressed somehow. A group of kids was running around near the church at 16th and Harvard last week shooting firecrackers of some kind across the street into unsuspecting pedestrians. This routinely also happens near the corners of 14th and Girard up through Harvard.

  • I’m so tired of everything turning into a race war around here. He’s a kid with firecrackers. I am a white yuppie and I used to terrorize my neighborhood with bottle rockets as a kid. It’s horribly dangerous, but it’s also a pretty basic part of growing up in America.

    • justinbc

      No commenter here mentioned race until you, just now.

      • It looks like the comment that I was replying to was deleted. The original comment was something about white gentrifying ruining the neighborhood. I appreciate the moderating from PoP, it was a totally unnecessary comment.

        • justinbc

          Ah, yeah, those mysterious deleted posts can cause quite a bit of confusion here after they’ve been yanked. I appreciate moderation of personal attacks, but I’m all for leaving just about anything else up. Let people sort out the idiots and trolls on their own 🙂

          • Prince Of Petworth

            Trust me, my system is far from perfect, but letting people sort out the idiots and trolls most definitely does not work. Sadly.

          • justinbc

            Oh I’m sure. I’ve watched quite a few arguments take place where clear frustration is being placed upon someone who did the internet equivalent of dining and dashing.

          • It might make sense to start quoting controversial comments in my responses. That way it’s easy enough to keep everyone on the same page if posts disappear.

    • Same. We got pretty advanced and made German-style panzerschreks to launch bottle rockets from. Blast shields and everything.

      • At least when I did it as a child, we didn’t point the fireworks at PEOPLE.

        • Sadly I can’t say the same. 🙁

          • Hell, 2 years ago, we got really drunk and shot bottle rockets at each other in the living room of our house. And THEN we went out to the bars.

            Got out of town this year to a peaceful family environment instead.

    • I think your comment is off the mark. The only descriptor of race in the original letter is a description of the a-hole doing this horrible thing to other neighbors. It doesn’t matter who you are: no one should ever get a pass on terrorizing passersby like this. Not you, not them, no one. This is a crime, plain and simple.

      I personally want to thank the letter writer for letting me know that this is going on. I live two blocks from there, and I’m going to make sure I stay clear of that section of 11th until all the fireworks supply has run out.

      • I totally agree with you. I was replying to someone whose comment was deleted who was making it about race rather than kids being jerks. I definitely appreciate the warning as well.

      • +1 to “It doesn’t matter who you are: no one should ever get a pass on terrorizing passersby like this. Not you, not them, no one. This is a crime, plain and simple.”

  • I think that’s where Henderson Castle used to be.

  • So DC has what’s called probable cause misdemeanors which means there’s only 14 or so misdemeanor crimes that officers can arrest for if it didn’t happen in their presence. All others need to get a warrant for the suspect. Don’t ask me why. That’s on City Council.

    The officers can take a report, but they need a victim. So if you’re watching this, you could report it, but we still need a victim. Someone who was scared by the fireworks that were thrown on them and wants to press charges. The fireworks themselves are not enough as everyone has them in a city that has banned them. So you’d need to go for a charge that the person felt they were at risk.

    It might do more good to talk to the property manager when this happens. They can serve an eviction notice for cause if they know this is occurring. I know most people think they don’t care, but my guess is that they can rent apartments for more money if there aren’t jerkoffs throwing firecrackers from balconies.

    • Thank you.

      As much as people complain about the police, law abiding citizens need to do their part and press charges on these petty criminals each and every time. Follow up with a civil lawsuit to keep the pressure on.

    • Thank you again for your explanation. It helps people to know the facts

    • Thanks, AnonMPD. Interesting. “The fireworks themselves are not enough…in a city that has banned them.” Isn’t that why they should be enough – because they are illegal? Maybe I misunderstood.

      Related note: my bike was stolen. The person trespassed into our closed/locked property and stole my property. I filed a report with an Officer (I think it’s safe to say that’s the last I’ll ever hear about my bike or having a stranger trespass on our property). Is that not enough for MPD to open a case, search for a suspect so I can press charges? In other words, what qualifies as opening a case and actually pursuing the perpetrator?

      Don’t mean to turn this into a MPD Q&A but it’s examples like this that baffle me. Thanks in advance!

      • So Lady,

        As for the fireworks, its selective policing. There were hundreds if not thousands of juveniles lighting fireworks. As officers, we could either each take a juvenile and then spend hours at Juvenile Processing and have them hate us for bringing 300 kids in at once. (This is a hatred that would follow us which is bad.)

        As for the bike, you got a police report number. Honestly, the only way your bike is found is if you had it registered and then it was taken when someone was arrested riding it or if they recovered it along with a lot of other bikes. Bikes are hard to find, given that they don’t have prominent markings like vehicle license plates. And this is a property case, which means it gets less attention as opposed to a violence case, as it should. Sorry if this isn’t very hopeful.

    • Except this is a DCHA property and rent is formula-, not market-based.

    • Could you share what those misdemeanor crimes are? Not necessarily here, in this post, but somewhere. Because if there’s a common thread to crime posts on Popville, it’s confusion over MPD’s responses, which is often followed, sadly, by a lack of faith that involving MPD is anything more than a waste of time.

      More information — from the MPD side of things — could help with the confusion, and maybe also the belief that reporting a crime is futile.

    • Sorry to pile on to the Q&A but I’d love to understand this better. Is there something in the law that requires a victim, so a witness isn’t enough?

  • This happened at the other end of 11th to me Sunday night, between M and L streets. Kids or whoever literally just set off some small fireworks in the street as I was going by; I thought for a brief moment I’d hit a mine or something

  • Worse that happened to me on the 4th while biking by, was my eyes got irritated from the firework smoke debris. Sucks that people don’t know how to have fun without putting others at risk.

  • ya- my sister got a jar of peanut butter thrown at her head while walking north up 11th street @ 2006. I was biking down Sherman Ave south a couple of years ago and had a rock thrown at me and it hit my leg. scary. out of nowhere.

  • I’ve had fireworks shot at me and the group of gay guys I was with. By 10 year olds. While their parents and friends laughed.

    • Disturbing but not terribly surprising. While walking/shopping in Columbia Heights I’ve definitely noticed young women of a certain culture screaming and swearing at their children. Learned behavior?

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