Reader Reports Random Pepper Spray Attack in Shaw Last Night

“Dear PoPville,

Last evening around 6:40pm I was biking home on Rhode Island Ave NW. At the intersection with 7th Street I slowed to wait for traffic to pass. At the southeast corner of the intersection where I was slowly biking by, a group of young African American girls (I would say 3-5 kids, ages 12-15) with school bags was gathered. One of them reached her arm out and pepper-sprayed me directly in the face.

A second later, I was blinded and shocked by the pain, but I managed to stop and pull my bike off the street without getting hit by a car (or bus). Fortunately, some bystanders helped me with water and napkins to try to get the spray out of my eyes.

I believe the girls boarded a G8 bus that was directly behind me. I could definitely hear them laughing at me. There were no witnesses and I was blinded, so there wasn’t much I could do about it. After a shower and rinsing my eyes in cold water, I was totally fine.

Shaw residents, watch out for these punk-ass kids!”

32 Comment

  • yikes! i’m sorry that happened! what a miserable thing.

  • People are the worst.

  • How scary, that could have easily gotten the OP killed. What a pack of psychopaths.

  • gotryit

    Wow, that sucks – sorry that happened to you. The buses have cameras that show people boarding, and may be able to give the police a shot at finding them. It is a long shot, but if you can find someone at MPD who cares enough, it should be possible.

    • Even if they found and charged the kids, nothing would happen to them.

      • Actually if they got charged with assult it could be bad for them and something would happen, but you are likely right that they will never be found or charged. Scary as I was biking through that same intersection just an hour before.

  • So sorry this happened, glad you are okay.

  • Terrible. Were the police helpful?

  • seriously right? I mean…the cyclist should have been wearing goggles or hipster glasses no? Kids are just being kids but hey…at least it’s not as bad as it was in the 90’s

  • I was tutoring at Waltha at the same time and there was a group of girls just as you described running around the second floor and being loud (IN A LIBRARY FOR SHAAAME) and now I’m wondering if they’re the same kids…fortunately for me I was just irked, not assaulted. I’m sorry this happened to you.

    • OP here. That’s very possible! I figured they had some after-school activity in the library and had just gotten out of that.

      I didn’t file a police report because I don’t see any point. With shootings becoming a regular occurrence in the blocks around the library, I think they have bigger fish to fry.

      • I would file one. You could have been seriously hurt if you had ended up in front of a car or bus. And kids who do stuff like this may graduate to shootings and similar in the future.

      • Please at least email your district commander. The police need to be aware that these things are happening!

      • You should definitely file a report. As the Romans well understood: taking care of small problems often prevents large problems.

      • assault is assault. the police need to know the number of incidents.

      • Please do file a report. I was similarly pepper sprayed in the face about two weeks ago while walking home in Columbia Heights (around 8:30pm on a Sunday). The kids were about the same age, maybe a bit older (12-15 yrs maybe). The cops told me another woman had been attacked as well that night, but they also punched her and took her purse. I don’t know if this is a “thing” now, but it sucks to go through and the more the police are aware, the better (I’d like to think, at least).

        • what exactly do you think the police can/will do about this? be specific.

          • At the very least, it makes them aware of the problem and shows a pattern. That way, when another person does come forward and report, they can’t just say it’s a one-off incident. Maybe they won’t take action and maybe they will, but if you don’t file a report, you know they won’t.

  • That is super F-ed up and I’m sorry that happened to you.

  • Please do file a report. This is not a small crime–it is an assault and battery, and because you were on a bicycle in traffic at the time, it is potentially an even more serious crime. That you were attacked on a bicycle in the street seems targeted, and the next victim may not be so lucky. Your information may lead to an arrest. Shaw is a neighborhood in transition, and the more seriously we treat these incidents, the safer it will become.

  • I’m so sick of kids in the Shaw/Bloomingdale area. They hang out by the metro and harass people trying to get by. They behave like animals and should be thrown in a cage. They probably stole someone’s purse and found pepper spray inside.

  • Anytime an assault occurs — which is what this is — MPD should respond quickly. If you get pushed, punched, or pepper sprayed — even if you’re not injured — it’s still an assault. So I agree with others on this site, don’t feel like it’s a drain on resources to report it, but especially try to call 911 right after it happens. Provide a description of the suspects to the dispatcher if at all possible so that one officer can talk to you while others look for the suspects. Sorry this happened to you!

    • Shouldn’t be considered a drain on resources. Cops are already there one block over at Shaw metro at 8th & R most of the time anyway watching folks legally congregate and play games of chance.

  • I must have been walking right past you – I also got some of the spray in my face last night at the same intersection! It took me a few steps to figure it out, and by then I heard the girls laughing/screaming and didn’t want to deal with confronting them or calling the police either.

  • really getting tired of these punk ass kids in shaw

  • I wonder what might have happened if both of you had reported it. Better yet if one of those helpful bystanders reported it too. Three calls to 911 might make a difference. I guess everybody was too busy playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood or looking for the newest gastropub.

  • This summer we experienced several instances of teenage girls (hanging out in groups of five or more, same location) threatening to use a taser on fellow pedestrians. It was always totally random, they would start shouting something along the lines of ‘what are you looking at, who do you think you are [insert inappropriate word choices here]’, then pull out a taser and zap it at people. And they wouldn’t run away either – the pedestrians usually hightailed it out of there, and the girls would crack up. Only once did I see the police pull up and have them ‘disperse’.

  • MPD has been doing a great job in the area, so definitely call 911. Just yesterday, in response to complaints, they had a prostitution sting for 30 mins on the 1200 block of 11th street in response to complaints received, and arrested 3 johns in that time. If more people reach out to 911 for things like this, hopefully it will mean they have it on their radar.

  • Pepper spray can be considered a weapon. And you were assaulted. Therefore you were addicted with a weapon. File a report.

    • Agreed. I used to carry pepper spray (for protection, obviously, after being a victim of assault) and I had to register it with the police department. If I hadn’t, it was considered a weapon and therefore illegal in the district.

Comments are closed.