From the Forum – Man Threatened Bikers on 8th St. SE Barracks Row (500 block)

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Man Threatened Bikers on 8th St. SE Barracks Row (500 block)

“While I was riding my bike home to Eastern Market from my gym at Navy Yard around 8:15 this [Monday] morning, a man walked out into the middle of the street in front of my bike. He had this crazy look on his face and he stared at me intently as he walked out into the street in front of me. I slowed down and tried to maneuver around him, but he lunged at me as though he was going to hurt me or pull me off of my bike.

I screamed at him and tried to ride the other way and sideswiped a car, which was stopped because the crazy man and I were in the middle of the street. Thankfully I was able to get away unharmed. I reported the incident to metro police, and I spoke with one of the officers who patrols in the area, and he said that he would look out.

If you’re riding in that area, please stay extra alert! I’m concerned because there have been other recent reports of people being attacked on their bikes (a pregnant woman was stabbed in the arm on her bike in SE about a month ago). I usually choose to ride on Barracks Row because there are lots of people around. I will probably avoid that street from now on and take a different route.”

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28 Comment

  • Littble bit misleading. Figured numerous bikers were threatened. Also a bit overreactive to NOT ride down baracks row any longer…Dont see how you’d feel safee on a side street vs the busiest street in that area.

    • There is a lot happening on that street. Tons of pedestrians, and vehicles getting on/off the highway, and this week there’s been construction taking up half the road. It’s no wonder tensions are high– it’s stressful for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians alike. 6th Street is a lot safer because it has a bike lane, or 9th or 7th simply because they’re a lot less busy.

      • justinbc

        Yeah, I don’t bike on 8th Street mainly because it’s full of moron drivers coming in from the suburbs trying miserably to back into those diagonal spaces.

    • Ally

      I completely understand him avoiding the area. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 10 years and this is the worst I’ve ever seen it in terms of people — either on drugs or mentally-unstable — who are threatening to or actually assaulting pedestrians and people on the street. I don’t know what’s going on, but I am the last person to avoid areas and I am not walking around nearly as much as I used to this Summer.

    • Yep +1 for totally reasonable to avoid that area. I never approach from Pennsylvania, I usually go a few blocks around on the side streets. It reminds me a bit of the crowds hanging out by the Columbia Heights station. Lots of people just wandering and stumbling and lots of panhandling. The metro island and the library attract lots of people who don’t have much other opportunity than whatever excitment the street corner has to offer. And it seems harrassing people at that corner is pretty exciting. A few months ago two guys tried to rob me of a bag of catnip coming out of the petstore. I guess they thought it was normal that someone would walk around with a sandwich bag bursting with drugs. And there’s a 7-11… just sayin.

  • I wonder if this is the same guy who threatened a female runner yesterday morning. That incident happened around 8:20 am as I was walking to the Eastern Market Metro station. The runner was crying hysterically on the corner of 8th and Pennsylvania explaining what had happened. I really don’t feel safe on that corner or in the general area. It seems like the cops on patrol in that area are more preoccupied with texting on their phones than actually getting out of their cars, encouraging law and order, and forging critical relationships within the community.

    • Yep. That block has gone to hell. The Starbucks took out their outdoor seating. But the cops keep double parking and running into the Duncan Donut.

    • That is the worst corner. If I have to go down 8th I avoid it if possible. Between the bus stops, homeless, the 7-11, the general business of a big intersection, there is just too much going on. Glad the Starbucks got wise and took out the seating because on top of it being a homeless magnet, it clogged up the corner even more.

  • Linc Park SE

    Hey – maybe next time hit the brakes and turn around – take a different street. I live/bike daily in same area. Please be aware of the rehab/community resource offices above Dunki Donuts.

    Dont give up biking on 8th for one minor incident.

    • Community Connections is the social service agency around the corner that provides mental health services. They periodically have disturbances from their clients who have mental health issues (trauma survivors, etc). You may want to contact them and at least make them aware. Sometimes they post staff outside to ensure there are no issues. Their intake may not be that earlier and it may not be on their radar unless reported. You can also report issues to MPD 1st District which deals with this on a consistent basis.

      (202) 546-1512

      • SouthwestDC

        I used to walk past Community Connections every day, and the people standing outside never caused me any harm. I always though the people hanging out across the street causing problems were unrelated and had more to do with the bus stop being there.

  • The 400 block of Penn really has reached a point where the people hanging out make it feel…not unsafe. Just unnerving. See Starbucks taking away their outdoor seating.

    I really hope the opening of &Pizza and the place from NRG helps at least the west side of that block.

  • I bike everywhere, and have for the last 4 years. I’ve ridden past drug deals, I’ve cautiously passed loitering teenagers in summers past, but never been too concerned. But this year I’ve never been so on edge, really can’t wait for the weather to cool and hopefully for these random attacks to come to an end. I won’t stop biking, but I’m definitely a little more cautious than I have been in the past.

    • Ally

      +1. Same here. This has been a weird summer for our area. Huge uptick in random violence as opposed to the usual robberies.

  • The corner of 8th and Penn has always been pretty shady, particularly during the daytime. Some goes for the pocket parks between 4th and 6th on Penn. Plenty of cops around, usually, but they are often sitting idly by.

    • I’m usually ultra-cautious and I’ve never felt threatened by the folks between 4th and 6th. They’re usually pretty friendly. That said, I usually don’t walk by them at night. On Barracks Row people seem more testy, plus you have all the teenagers hanging by the metro.

  • Barracks row has gotten sketchy. I avoid that area generally these days.

  • People with mental issues, challenges whatever it may be are not really news. We live in a city. This has always happened in every city. If we all reported every bizarre incident that happened like this we wouldn’t be walking, biking or even existing in any part of this city. Not saying move back to the country like some would just saying this is not abnormal.

    • Ally

      Gathering you don’t live in the neighborhood? This year has been well above average for what you usually can expect to encounter in the city. I’ve been in this neighborhood for 10 years and DC for 20.

    • I would still like to know if a nutjob is walking around my block, whether you think it’s news or not is irrelevant

      • My point is the mentally unstable or what Ano refer to as Nutjobs so compassionately, are always around. What are you going to do about this stay extra extra vigilant?

        • I’d avoid them and call the proper authorities. I still would like to know if some mentally unstable person is getting unstable on my block. Better?

        • It’s not just a call to avoid whackos. Normally if there is a decent description you can yes, “stay extra extra vigilant.” While that area has hoards of random teenagers, the homeless/indigent population is pretty easy to remember. For example there is a woman who is always near the library and muttering to herself, she doesn’t seem to pose a threat. There’s Carl, he just wants a sandwich or some coffee, but if it’s late and he’s lit, avoid contact. The list goes on, if this is someone who I can recognise and know is a Nutjob, yep I want that on flyers and a blog and brought up when I get coffee. If I had my way every block would have it’s own website and we’d be sharing this sort of info. I want the city to be a huge neighborhood and when someone steps out of line I can call their grandma and she’ll smack em in the ear and put a stop to it.

  • Really sorry that this happened to the OP. I understand that she may have been stunned, but it would be great to have a description of who to be on the look out for. “A man” is not much to go on.

  • OP and PoP- thank you for posting this. This is my neighborhood, and I bike in this exact area at roughly the same time. This is very helpful. Glad you weren’t seriously hurt. The stabbing of a fellow Navy Yard bike commuter months ago was unnerving enough, but this is also scary. Thanks again.

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