19 Year Old ID’d in alleged assault on 69 Year Old at Eastern Market Metro “could face an enhanced penalty of 1.5 times the maximum term of imprisonment due to the age of the victim”



“Metro Transit Police (MTPD) detectives have identified the suspect who allegedly assaulted a 69-year-old victim last week at Eastern Market Station.

MTPD has obtained an arrest warrant for Elijah J SMITH, 19, with a last known address in Northeast DC. The charge is felony assault. If convicted, SMITH could face an enhanced penalty of 1.5 times the maximum term of imprisonment due to the age of the victim under District of Columbia law (§ 22–3601).”

61 Comment

  • samanda_bynes

    jeeeezus. yeah man, this isn’t high school, knocking people out on video tends not to end well – in spite of what worldstar tends to say…tough break for the kid, and seems harsh oddly enough…but I don’t know, he was an old dude.

    • Ally

      How does it seem harsh (genuinely curious)?

      • According to the DC law they cited + the assault law, this guy is facing 4.5 years in prison (assuming the victim was hospitalized, which I believe was the case). I think that what the perp did was disgusting and scary, but there’s room for debate about whether it calls for that much prison time.
        Then again, if his lawyer isn’t a total moron he’ll probably plead and get much less than the maximum.

        • Did you look below your comment to see how other people found evidence that this loser has a long, violent history at the age of 19? It would be in society’s interest that we lock him up and throw away the key. He’s done (or he should be in a perfect world).
          The fact that he was still out and roaming since his previous assaults should tell you something about our hands-off attitude to criminals here. Innocent victims- you’re on your own.

          • Yes, those comments were posted after mine. And I never said that the punishment DOESN’T fit the crime – just that reasonable minds may differ.
            I don’t really know what you do with people like this; mostly I wish we did more to prevent them from becoming this way in the first place.

          • Accountering

            Agreed on doing more to prevent people from becoming like this guy, but this one seems like a lost cause. Reform imprisonment… less on the drug crimes, more on the violent crimes. This punk deserves to sit in jail for a long, long time.

          • And yet how does sitting in an American jail for a long, long time help prevent the guy from doing something possibly even more horrifying once he’s back out? Maybe we need to look our understanding of punishment and rehabilitation in ways that are more humanistic? Or seek ideas from other countries that have tired different approaches: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/the-radical-humaneness-of-norways-halden-prison.html

    • I am okay with a harsh punishment here. This kid shows blatant disregard for other people. Given how quickly he went from 0 to 60 I am sure this isn’t the first time he has done something like this. That photo even looks like a mug shot, no?

  • I used to teach this kid years ago…he was pretty bright and always respectful. So sad to see him come to this 🙁

    • Ally

      That is sad. Though, if he was a pretty good and courteous student at some point, maybe there’s at least still hope that he’ll get his act together.

    • He is only 19. So how many years ago did you teach him? What do you think anyone could have done to change things? I think this is the frustration point for many people.

      • I taught him when he was in 8th grade…5 or 6 years ago. He was soft-spoken in class but popular and funny, and worked pretty hard (in both school and sports). I thought he had great potential. Ugh, it is heartbreaking. You always hope for the best for all of your kids once they move on and are no longer part of your everyday life, and it is really hard for me to imagine Elijah doing this (or anything else I’m seeing here that he’s done).

    • Something like this must be gut wrenching for a teacher. I am sorry for your sorrow and loss (because really – this must feel like a “loss” to a thoughtful teacher).

  • Hope they got the right guy, hope he gets convicted and goes away for a long time.

    • Ally

      Yeah, me too. I live in this area and would be very happy to not have to deal with him while riding metro.

  • i wonder how they narrowed it down to him specifically
    the pictures i saw from the cameras were extremely fuzzy

  • According to the Maryland court records, this guy has pled guilty or no contest to theft, robbery, and evading fares on the metro system, along with an extradition ruling from DC back to Maryland. And he’s only 19 – who knows what juvenile violations he was also involved in. How lovely.

  • Was the older man saying something to him? It looked like they had been talking and then a punch ensued.

    • I read elsewhere that they had words, the kid spit on the old guy, old guy swung, then the kid just went totally nuts on old guy and beat him down. Horrible.

      • Ally

        I saw the video posted of the escalator portion of the incident and while it looks like words were exchanged, the victim in no way swung at all. He was just standing on the escalator, the perp waited for him to get to the top, the decked him so hard he fell back down. Horrific video.

        • He didn’t cock his arm back, but he definitely jabbed the kid in the face before the kid started swinging.

          • Ally

            Huh, I’ll have to go back and rewatch the video. Not doubting your account at all (I have pregnant brain, so no telling what I saw). Just don’t remember that.

  • This guy hangs out at Gallery Place every now and then!!!

  • I guess know it is just a matter of time before he is arrested and sent to jail. Sort of a shame. Since they were able to identify him by name, he probably has a pretty long record.

    Obviously, for the good of society he needs to be locked up and removed. Then in a few years, he is going to come out and best case scenario he will be a uneducated man in his mid 20s with no work experience and a violent criminal record who is trying to turn his life around. Or he will come out an unchanged violent career criminal and pick right back up where he left off.

    Either way, he has already destroyed his life at 19. Hopefully he doesn’t have any kids and he only wrecked his own life.

  • Here is what I said last week:

    “This POS will be caught. If not for this crime, then for others he has committed or will commit. People like this are repeat offenders, and they need to be locked up.”

  • He should be prosecuted, but I don’t believe his punishment should be 1.5x greater because of the class of the victim.

    • And why is that? Don’t we have greater punishments for all types of crimes depending on the severity (whether severity in dollar damage, personal injury, animus towards victim, etc.)? So, why shouldn’t society view attacking an elderly person, who is less likely able to defend him or herself, with greater penalty? Clearly from my questions, I think we absolutely should. His crime was horrific in my view — lucky the victim wasn’t killed.

      • I just don’t believe one victim should be valued less than another victim when the same crime is committed.

        • Completey disagree with you. If a child is sexual assaulted versus an adult being sexual assaulted would you still believe both should have the same punishment?

        • What if he had punched a baby?

        • That’s the wrong interpretation. It’s not the “value” of the victim, it’s the vulnerability.

          • Interesting thing here is the video could be interpreted to suggest the victim didn’t see himself as vulnerable.

          • I can see how you would arrive at this conclusion after watching him collapse and lie motionless on the escalator.

          • I’m referring to his decisions before the final acts in the confrontation. Pursuing a potentially disregulated individual up an escalator over a shove on a train platform isn’t an action of the meek ((I don’t condone the violence, which is horrible and unwarranted. This incident is a reminder that confronting strangers in public is risky business))

        • Accountering

          That’s the thing… It isn’t the same crime. Punching a grandma and punching me is very different. Punch me, and I am likely going to be fine. He could have killed this guy.

  • Great news. Hope they catch him and soon. I’m shocked at how the elderly are treated by many young punks on the bus and the metro.

  • lock em up for life… what a POS

    • That punishment does not fit the crime. Such medieval thinking is why we have 2.2 million prisoners in the US and high rates of recidivism. Better to try to rehabilitate him, or snuff out the thuggish behavior. Sending young people to jail only produces more criminals when they get out.

  • The problem here my dear lovely PoP readers is that this child will not be repaired by this deeply flawed legal system. At best it will further hinder him in life, cause him more frustration and angst, which he can potentially share with his counter parts either within or when he is released from prison. and then probably end up having children that he is unable to support because believe it or not prison becomes a cycle that this poor boy will have to experience for the rest of his life. What I hope for this boy, and all those like him, is that he finds someone to invest in him. That he finds counseling. That by some ironic twist of fate that the legal justice system provides some type of solace for this boy so that he can experience the healing and discipline required to become a productive member of our society. Remember that hurt people, hurt people. What circumstances is a youth living in that they are turning to theft? Perhaps there is a lack of decent parenting in the home. He may even be an orphan. Violence of this nature is often reflective of trauma. I am sorry to tell you dear folks but removing him ‘from the community’ will not solve your problems. If you want to see guys like him ‘go away’ volunteer at a youth center in a community that you are afraid of going to and change the trajectory of the life of a child who might end up on a path very similar to his.

    • A “child” is supposed to respect his elders, not punch them in the face.

    • Ally

      I think probably the majority of us on here do spend a lot of our time volunteering. And while I’m sure many of us can feel empathy for how people find themselves in these situations and for the vicious cycle of crime begetting more crime, etc, my sympathy and concern at this point resides firmly with the victim, who didn’t in any way deserve to be punched in the head simply because he was trying to ride the metro.

    • Ally

      And to clarify, I think there’s a difference between people who find themselves in a cycle of drugs or stealing (I have friends who have fallen into this), and someone who has taken it a step further and turned viciously violent toward strangers. At that point, I’m concerned less with rehabilitation and more about protecting the citizens who this guy could continue hurting. But I’m a bit biased. Have my first child on the way and am in full mama bear mode.

    • Yeah, I’m ok with him being locked up forever. You’re right that it won’t prevent future Elijahs from attacking others, but it will stop this one. I’m ok with that. And to second Ally, my concern is only with the victim. This dude has had a lot of chances with his multiples run-ins with the law. At some point you gotta lie in the bed you made.

    • He’s not a child, he’s an adult, maybe a paternalistic attitude of not expecting him to behave like an adult is part of his problem. He’s also a menace to decent people trying to live in this city and raise their actual children.

      • +1. 19 years old is not a child. Double +1 to “maybe a paternalistic attitude of not expecting him to behave like an adult is part of the problem”

    • He’s an adult who assaulted an old man. Allowing him to escape the consequences would do a disservice to the victim, the community, and the young man who committed the crime.

    • Accountering

      Agreed. He is totally hosed, and he will very likely never be a productive member of society. This punk is a lost cause. and we should lock him up for a long time so he doesn’t hurt someone else. Lets focus on the people who can be helped, and this guy is not one of them.

    • Child? Boy? Uh, no. Please don’t try to make it sound like he’s 12. I’m sorry if he had a crappy life but at this point he is 100% responsible for his actions and the choices he makes. And given his actions and choices, there is no place for Mr. Smith out on the street among the general population. He is clearly prone to violence…how long before he kills someone?

    • Ally

      Also, from what I can see with a cursory glance on FaceBook (I’ll also note that he’s been on there recently), he appears to have a very good support system of family and friends. So, I’m not seeing a huge set of mitigating circumstances or a particularly tough life that led to this.

  • Fox5 said this morning that this turkey was charged with Frank Britton’s assault (referenced in sbc’s link), but assault charges were dropped and he plead to a theft charge. Spent 100 days in jail, then was released in October with a 1 year suspended sentence and 1 year of probation. Britton did not even know the kid had been released.

    • Ally

      Well, that should take care of that, then, if they can find the guy. If he was on probation when this happened, charges should hopefully stick this time.

  • I’m a flaming liberal and understand that this young man is likely a product of an environment most of us don’t want to think about. I’ve coached and mentored a lot of these kids, and watched them turn from sweet and trusting to hardened and scary as they age. But a violent crime is a serious crime, regardless of mitigating circumstances, and I hope this guy is taken off the streets I walk for a long while. Just last week, descending an escalator at Eastern Mkt station I thought two male teens were going to attack me for having politely asked if I could walk past them. It was scary. Maybe we’re somehow all bear fault for a system that’s not fair, but it doesn’t justify violent acts against innocent victims.

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