“If nothing else, let this be a warning that there is a man hanging out by the metro in a baggy red t-shirt threatening to stab people”

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“Dear PoPville,

I just had a rather unbelievable experience while I was out running errands in Columbia Heights. I live in a building immediately above the CH metro and am quite used to the large groups of people that gather on this corner. Today, however, as I was walking home from Giant and waiting in front of the CVS to cross 14th, a drunk man walked up next to me carrying a 40 and began screaming “F this, F that”. This is a pretty typical experience so I just stood there silently waiting for the light to change. He then got even closer to me (about 2-3 feet away) and started screaming that he was going to stab me with his knife.

I did a quick survey and saw 4 police officers on bicycles standing in front of Panera. Thank goodness! I thought. I booked it across the street to give them a heads up that this man was threatening to stab me. I was waving my arms and yelling “Excuse me officers!” All four officers looked at me and then got onto their bicycles and rode off.

I have absolutely no idea whether to report this incident or not. And I also have no idea who I would even report it to. I don’t think it is too much to ask for a group of officers to acknowledge you when you are running towards them and screaming to get their attention.

If nothing else, let this be a warning that there is a man hanging out by the metro in a baggy red t-shirt threatening to stab people.”

23 Comment

  • You could try reporting the bicycle cops to the Third District commander, Jacob Kishter — give him the date, the time of day, and any other information you can remember. Some of the rank-and-file cops in the Third District seem less than eager to interact with people, but Commander Kishter is very responsive.

  • Panera is not too far from the Fourth District. Perhaps these particular officers were trying to sneak into the Third District for a bite to eat.

  • Reminder to all: 911 is DC is the general reporting number for all emergency services, whether it is an emergency or not. If you need to talk to report something to the police, call 911. If you need an ambulance, call 911. It is not just for big emergencies.

  • I’ve heard that yelling “Fire!” works when you’re in physical danger and need help right away. People don’t respond to “Help!” “Rape!” etc. but they do to “Fire!” And I’m not suggesting anyone yells this in a movie theatre for fun.

  • An older, apparently enibriated guy at 13th and U threw out a bunch of foul-mouthed insults and threatened to “stomp” me and another guy yesterday at about 5pm. He didn’t approach either of us, though, and both of us just walked away. Not pleasant, though.

  • Sorry this happened to you! Please both call in the actual threat (911) so the police both have record of this incident and address it, AND email the Lieutenant about your concerns about the police. Does anyone know if there are any social services to call to get this guy some help?

    • I’d like to emphasize this: threatening to hurt someone is a crime and should be reported to MPD – call 911. Even if you feel comfortable that you can defend yourself, think about the next person who walks by who may not be able to.

    • “Does anyone know if there are any social services to call to get this guy some help?” +1 for this question. I encounter people who seem to be mentally ill on a fairly regular basis, sadly, and always puzzle over whether I should involve the police or call someone else. I often end up either calling the police or doing nothing because I don’t know who the “someone else” should be. I wish I did.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES): 202-673-9319 (24hrs, 7 days per week)
        Mobile Crisis Services (MCS): 202-673-9300 (9am -1am, 7 days per week)
        Homeless Outreach Program (HOP): 202-673-9124 (9am -8pm , M-F)

        • Thanks, Dan! I just reread an old Pop post on this, and it looks like we can reach these same services through 911 or 311, too, depending on how quickly we want a response.

        • Great advice! I work in the mental health field, and while some officers are trained in Crisis Intervention, not all are. Better to call Mobile Crisis, if you’re able to. Obviously, if you feel that you’re in immediate danger, call the cops.

  • Terrible (if unsurprising) that the police simply biked away, but sorry…. I’m still LOLing at the post title.

    • Assuming the cops actually heard the person, and that they actually did bike away. We’re getting one side of the story. Everyone seems to always take these posts as the absolute truth.

  • He might not be wearing a baggy red t-shirt tomorrow. That’s a very polite description of his appearance but is there anything else you can provide? Was he old/young, facial hair, tattoos, white/black/other, hairstyle, tall/skinny/whatever?

  • I’ve given up trying to change things. I don’t think Bowser or any council member even understand how cops treat residents. Nothing changes. Crime is always “our fault” and they can never tell us anything because it might jeopardize an “investigation.” Well, if there are so many investigations, why do I only see arrests happen when a civilian detains a criminal or calls 911? Where are the results from these investigations?

  • samanda_bynes

    crazy people….in Cheights??? eh, he’s obviously messed up, but that’s still ridiculous. sorry that happened, the metro area there is so ridiculous now.

  • Cops. I used to think the bad apples were the minority, and that most of them actually cared about the community, but I guess I was naive because now I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around.

  • Call 911 if you are ever in doubt. Let the police sort it out.

  • There always seems to be mentally disturbed people screaming obscenities in this area. When in the area, I’ve learned to spot them coming and get out of the way.

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