Man Forced into Van at Gunpoint and Sexually Assaulted at 14th and Parkwood Pl, NW at 8pm on Friday

via google maps

From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating multiple suspects in connection with a First Degree Sexual Assault while Armed (Gun) that occurred in the area of 14th Street & Parkwood Place, Northwest.

On Friday, July 31, 2015, at approximately 8:00 pm, an adult male was approached by a suspect, forced into a white van at gun point, and sexually assaulted. One of the suspects is described as a Hispanic male, 6’1” to 6’2” in height, 22 to 27 years of age, slim build, with short black curly hair, and armed with a gun. He was observed wearing an orange shirt and grey sweat pants. Another suspect is described as an unknown male, heavy set, 17 to 19 years of age and light complexion. At least five other males of unknown descriptions were also involved.

Anyone who has information regarding this case should call police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, information may be submitted to the TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.”

72 Comment

    • that was my initial response.

      • MPD and Brandon Todd need to listen up: this stretch of 14th St., all the way up to Shepherd St., is a MESS. I walk my dog here and it’s constant public intoxication, trash everywhere, and lately, an increase in prostitution (or at least that’s my assumption when I see a woman in a bikini top and mini skirt go into the alley behind Red Derby with a guy).

        I appreciate the effort, but parking a police cruiser on the sidewalk next to the Rib Pit lounge is a band aid solution. Especially when 8 times out of 10 that I walk by, the officer is staring down at a glowing screen (I’m gonna guess on a smart phone).

        Why not have officers walk up and down this area (a very small stretch) and actually do something like make arrests and just generally police? I walked to the dry cleaner Thursday and saw a guy taking a leak into a planter box. You can’t tell me that’s not an arrestable offense. Do something. Set a precedent that this kind of behavior is not ok.

        • The parked cruiser is at the corner of 14 and Randolph NW to get drivers to slow down and heed the stop for pedestrian signs at the intersection. And the car does a great job of making this happen. Stop your whining about prostitution.

          • Stop my whining on prostitution? You must be one of the johns that have been picked up in a recent sting. Stop your trolling

          • I think SWer was being delightfully sarcastic in reference to the DC Police’s apparent lack of priorities. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

          • If that’s the only reason for the parked (and texting) officer, then they should put a speed camera there and be done with it. DC cops sitting in their vehicles….seems like a perpetual work slowdown, if you ask me.

    • That’s all I could say too.

    • MVT

      I just said the exact same thing. This is just horrible

  • This does not sound random…payback…someone messed with the wrong vato

    • Targeted or random, it’s still horrifying. Please, let’s not downplay this. Would you say the same thing if it was a woman who was attacked?

      • Uh yeah. This person would definitely say the same thing if a woman was attacked. Actually, the comment probably would have been even worse. We are expert victim-blamers in this country. Any time a woman is attacked someone wants to know what she was wearing, what she was doing out so late, who she taunted with her sexuality, etc. In other words, in what way was she “asking for it?” It’s unsurprising that this person wants to know what that victim allegedly did.

        • Spare us the hysterics. Los said the crime didn’t sound random, not that the victim “deserved” it.

          • so yeah, that’s what Los explicitly said

          • HaileUnlikely

            This wasn’t a random crime because an anonymous poster on a f*cking blog said it didn’t sound like it was. Glad we settled that. Why don’t you give the MPD a call and explain this to them so you can save them some work and get the officers back onto the streets to do more important stuff than try to learn facts, since you obviously know them already.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            Haile, do you seriously think cops don’t make these types of assumptions when investigating a crime? When is the last time you heard of a person getting forced into a van and sexually assaulted? Maybe this was random, but claiming it was random is no different than claiming it was not random. Neither of you have any facts to back your assumption, but I think we can all agree that this is not a normal occurrence. As far as motive is concerned, I don’t think it is unreasonable to think the most likely possibilities would be retaliation or gang initiation.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Of course not. I just don’t want us to all act like we just learned factual information about what happened because somebody up above said it “sounded like” whatever.

          • HaileUnlikely

            p.s. I thought of gang initiation as well, in which case, from the standpoint of the *victim* (which I think is what most of us here care about right now), it may well have been random. In any event, at this time, we have no factual information regarding whether the perpetrators sought out this specific victim personally or whether the individual victim was selected basically at random.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I don’t see anywhere that someone thought Los had any sort of inside info or was stating something factual. There are the people who agree with him that it doesn’t sound random and the people that think he is victim-blaming. Of the two subsets, those crying “victim-blaming” seem to be the unreasonable ones. Why can’t people on a blog have an honest discussion of a crime without people trying to interject that they are blaming a victim? There is a big difference between saying something like, “oh, I know that girl, and she dresses like a “ho,” so she had it coming” and saying “this does not sound random.” If people can’t see the distinction, then I don’t know what to tell you.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’m not interpreting what Los said as victim-blaming. I’m interpreting what he said as useless speculation that the victim was not selected at random when in fact we have absolutely no idea whether or not the victim was selected at random. I’m not one to get all upset about “victim blaming” – I’m often accused of doing that myself, and I don’t care. That is not the point, though. My point is that it is quite reasonable for somebody who lives in this area or frequents this area to want to know whether there is a threat to the public at large here, and the fact of the matter is that right now we don’t have any idea, and again, without regard to the victim-blaming angle because I just don’t care about that one way or the other, speculating that this victim was targetted because he messed with the wrong vato is just not helpful.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          You people need to lighten-up. Making an observation is not victim-blaming. Saying that it was likely not random is not blaming the victim but acknowledging that this type of crime does not normally occur. The latter part about messing with the wrong vato was likely said in jest. Maybe it was in poor taste, but it’s not victim-blaming.

        • Although it’s wrong to blame victims, people often do it because they are terrified that something like this could happen to them. They prefer to think that the victim brought this on themselves because it scares people to believe that this could happen to anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        • People want to know more about a crime like this, not to blame the victim, but to understand why it happened. When you can understand what circumstances lead up to the successful completion of a crime, you can get a better handle of why it happened and- here’s the key!- how to hopefully try and avoid it yourself in the future. I don’t think there is anything wrong in asking why and how this happened. I learn from these stories all the time, as do others.

    • Los, I’m wondering the same thing. This is horrific, for sure, but it also sounds quite crazy and not the norm for a sexual assault crime. Hoping they release more details on this, so people can put this in perspective and know what to fear (or not).

      • Reasons why this might well be random:
        1. Gang initiation.
        2. Neighborhood trash who want to show the “chulos” who’s boss.
        3. There are tons of f’ed up people in this world.
        4. ??? who knows without more information.
        I think it’s pretty foolish to speculate about whether this “sounds” random or not until more facts are made public.

    • Same thing I thought, too.
      At least for the public’s sanity, I hope the police can provide a bit more detail (I.e. was this truly random? Or were the victim and perpetrators connected in some way?)
      Yes, all sex crimes are awful and unwarranted. But people need to know if they are a target.

      • It’s not any of our goddamn business. Just pay attention to your surroundings, regardless of whether or not there’s a gang of rapists roaming around targeting people or attacking them at random. Why on earth would you act any differently?!

        • Are you insane? It’s a very, very important distinction. Especially if you live near here. And it’s NOT victim blaming in the least bit.
          If someone is shot on my street corner, I want to do know if it was a random shooting or if the victim-perp knew one another and had beef It speaks volumes to likelihood of being a victim of the same crime.
          Even if you’re always aware of your surroundings, there’s no way to escape from a situation like this once confronted by a person with a gun.

        • I live two blocks down, and was at dinner across the street at Pho Viet when it happened. It *definitely* matters to me whether the victim was targeted purposely, or if I narrowly managed to avoid getting kidnapped and sexually assaulted at gunpoint because I walked to dinner at 7:45 vs. 8. Has nothing to do with paying attention to surroundings; I don’t like my odds against five guys, a van, and a gun no matter how alert I am.
          That said, multiple guys, a gun, and a van kidnapping another guy to assault him sounds personal to me. Too well-orchestrated and public.

          • Speaking of Pho Viet… Someone needs to organize the legitimate businesses on this strip to start pushing the Mayor, DC council and agencies for action. What happens along this strip on a daily basis is a joke.

          • I agree with Ano 3:50’s post below. I really like this stretch of 14th and the legitimate businesses that are along there including Pho Viet, the Pinch, the Derby, Lyman’s, the couple of great Taquerias, the women selling food outside the market. It is a great mix and great character, but is brought down by a lot of public intoxication at all times of the day, catcalling constantly, and pretty open prostitution. This area could be great with just a little more attention (no huge development or anything needed).

    • I think that inquiring as to whether this is a random or target time is a completely appropriate concern. People with their “victim blaming” talk are way out of line. This sounds targeted, very targeted and not random. If this was random then god help us.

      • Well, that escalated quickly!

        Although, my original post might appear glib, it is not..
        The fact is that most rape victims are women. Most rapes are committed by an acquaintance. Rapes at gun point by strangers are very, very rare.

        This rape is highly unusual. The victim is a man, it was a well organized, well planned, and was done by a team in an almost swat team op. I can recall a similar instance in AdMo, behind the bars on 18th, were a woman was attacked in similar fashion as part of a revenge plot (if I recall correctly). Thus, making the assumption that this is not a random crime is not illogical and we do have one precedent.

        Last night it was reported that one of the suspects was a Hispanic male with a tattoo. Thus my comment of messing with the wrong “vato” (btw I’m hispanic, so please don’t call me racist for calling some of my peeps vatos). I can think of two scenarios: a gang initiation or payback. I rather not go on how some vatos rationalize man-on-man rape and it’s role in asserting dominance, etc.

        The point I was trying to make in my pot , which got lost b/c I wasn’t explicit enough, was that, although this is a horrific incident, there is no reason to panic.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Gang initiations are outside of my experience. Might a gang initiation involve doing something heinous to a victim selected more or less at random? I’m pretty sure I’ve read about murders in VA in past years in which the police believed that a random person murdered as a part of a gang initiation.

          • Random as in anyone in the gen pop, or random as in anyone within the rival gangs’ spheres? Reason I ask is if it’s the former, then that’s even more chilling.

        • The idea of a gang initiation hadn’t occurred to me, but the one scenario that came to the mind was from “Boys Don’t Cry” — in which a bunch of men gang-rape a transgendered person (in that case, a female-to-male trans person) to punish that person for not conforming to sexual “norms.”

  • This sounds absolutely horrific. I wonder if they pulled up to him so fast that he had no time to react. What an awful story- that poor man.

    • I know–terrifying. I hope he’s getting counseling.

      It always makes it more frightening (for many reasons) where there’s a group crime like this. One violent criminal is one thing, but the fact that it sounds like there were seven guys involved is really disturbing. How do these people find each other?

  • This happened at 8pm. This time of the year that’s practically broad daylight. Seriously, WTF?

  • As someone that lives on this street, this is really frightening! I regularly walk my dog around these hours! There went listening to podcasts!

    • As a concerned neighbor and dog-owner, NOT a critic, it’s never a good idea to have headphones in when you’re walking your dog. I mean, it’s always a good idea to leave both ears, or at least one, open all the time, but paying attention to a podcast AND your surroundings is hard enough; throw the distraction of a dog and into the mix and your ability to be alert plummets. My dog is a loud-mouth, so she’d bark her butt off if anyone threatening was approaching me (or even non-threatening; she went crazy when I fell on the ice last winter and someone came to help me up), but when I’m bent over to scoop her poop, I’m vulnerable enough, even without the further distraction of headphones. We just have to watch out for ourselves out there; no one else is going to do it.
      On the bright side, it’s kind of nice to walk around the city and hear its sounds. I don’t do that nearly enough. 🙂

  • Upper 14th St is a mess. Nadeau and Todd really need to get together to figure out a short and long term solution. Ive given up on the mayor caring about crime. This area is not safe.

    • justinbc

      Outside of patrolmen standing on every street corner, how would an ANC member’s actions possibly prevent a car from pulling up and forcing you into it at gun point?

      • By having enough police resources to arrest the people who are likely to force someone into a car for something else they did before that, like hire a prostitute or smoke PCP on the corner or take a leak in a doorway.
        I doubt any one of the guys involved were committing their first crime. And what do you want to bet that they had done something arrest-worthy (public intoxication, another assault) in the, say, five days before the van thing? And they got away with it, leaving them free to do this.

        • justinbc

          Do you know who these people were? Did they even come from this particular Ward in the District?

        • Do you know what PCP smells like? How do you know that’s what they’re smoking?

        • See: Philip K. Dick’s Precrime.

          See also: Frank Zappa’s “The Central Scrutinizer.”

          See also: “I’ll have you know that the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint!”

        • What is with you people and your raging hard-ons for pre-crime arrests?
          There is no amount of police that can stop crime. Crime is a sociological ill not an enforcement issue. Policing is to keep sheeple calm not keep wolves out of the herd, because that is an impossible task when any sheep could be a wolf. If you put a cop on every corner the shootings will be in the alleys, if you put cops in every alley the shootings will be in the parks, putting cops everywhere has diminishing returns, they don’t stop crime, only move it around. I don’t understand the cognitive dissonance in you all that you believe government is so incompetent but that if they just did X they could stop a problem that has existed as long as humanity itself.
          If stopping crime is as easy as police looking up from their phones (remarkably there were no smartphones when crime was at its worst here, wonder what we should scold cops of old for looking at) and ANCs doing whatever it is you are rabbling about don’t you think someone would have done it by now? They could very quickly become mayor and then? President!? Like no one with gumption has ever been a cop or elected official before and tried in earnest to fix the problem? Then when someone tries to address it head on and suggests some kind of social program because those are shown to have much better results than some moronic idea about stopping crimes before they happen with police it gets shot down by the likes of you because it isn’t a law-and-order approach and is somehow “soft” on crime.
          You can’t “arrest the people who are likely to…” in the United States or any other western democracy.

  • Holy cow, this is alarming to say the least.

  • That is terrifying. Poor guy, I hope that he gets whatever help and support he needs to recover.

  • This is reminiscent of the tragic case in NYC involving a broomstick about 10 years back that made the national news.
    I would like to express my concern for the victim and hope he recovers quickly.
    Nadeau, and Graham before her, have been nothing but bad news for upper 14th street. I remember seeing a report of police calls to the Exxon at 14th and Parkwood about 6 years ago. Something like 100 police calls a year for that one address.
    The Action Plan requires some hardball:
    Get that liquor store outta there.
    Get Exxon HQ on the line that their franchise is an embarrassment to the company. Revoke it. Sell the lot.
    Clean the area up. DPW needs to clean up the planter boxes after installing the ironwork years ago.
    Investigate the construction tax breaks given to the developer on the corner lot at 14th and Parkwood that has been in mothball for years – This is our new Beacon Funeral Home.
    Panam needs clean up their storefront, and parking mess. The residential side-streets are not their parking lot. Ideally they move elsewhere. Their shuttling of groceries back and forth under the Amaya accounting building is not sustainable. I have seen countless rats run in and out of that building.
    The list can go on and on… but this is a start.

    • If you’re referring to the Abner Louima police brutality case in NYC, this isn’t like that at all, because these suspects aren’t police officers.

      • ^basically. is all sodomy the same to you Thought?

        • Seriously. That’s disturbing. Also, does all sexual assault against a man equal sodomy to you, Thought? You know it’s an extremely broad definition, right? And you went to “broomstick.” Very disturbing.

      • Fair point. I didn’t look it up to clarify the reference. My focus was more on solutions to address the situation on upper 14th.

    • Thank you Thought for speaking up about the Pan Am grocery story. While a valued part of the community, they really need to clean their act up. People park in the crosswalk, contractors use the sidewalk as their loading and unloading platform, trash everywhere.

      • Agree, thank you for articulating these issues on 14th. Like you said, it’s just a start, but a very good list. I’m new to the neighborhood, and relatively new to DC after 10 years in Manhattan. Live very close to where this happened and 100% agree with the fact that a hardball action plan is needed. If that lot at Parkwood doesn’t pick up construction pronto, I’m going to start cleaning it up myself. I should probably buy stock in cleaning gloves.

    • Thought: I’d highly encourage you to email Brianne Nadeau and the At-Large Council Members (Anita Bond) to work with them. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. The more neighbors that complain, the more attention and results you’ll get. Nadeau needs your help to be aware of what is happening. She tends be against actual law enforcement and be in support of social solutions and more low income housing. That being said, she’ll be responsive if they think it’s going to effect their election.

  • This is not meant AT ALL as victim-blaming, but please please please always remember:
    -when getting mugged, comply. Hand over whatever they want, don’t put up a fight. Phones, wallet, even cars can be replaced.
    -HOWEVER, when told to go to a second location (i.e. an alley, park, vehicle, behind some trees) run away and scream ‘rape’. If they are trying to take you to go to a second location they are most likely looking to commit a sexual assault, not robbery, and they are looking for an easy target. Even if they have a gun, you’re not worth chasing or shooting after.

    I know, I know, easier said than done esp when it’s actually happening. But I think the distinction between the two circumstances isn’t often stressed enough.

    • Aren’t you supposed to scream FIRE because people are more likely to dial 911 for a fire than for rape?

      • Hm. I don’t really think that would work. Screaming “fire” would make bystanders look at the buildings for a fire and probably pay less attention to a group of people scuffling someone into a van. How about “help” or “gun”?

        • If you yell “gun!” people are going to start running away, rather than rendering assistance and taking note of the vehicle, license plate, physical attributes of the perps, etc.

      • I’ve heard that as well. I think anything specific like that besides ‘help’ should work. Which is pretty sad when you think about it

        • I too have heard that you’re supposed to scream “Fire!” rather than “Rape!” or “Help!”. I agree that it’s pretty sad that people would be responsive to the first but not to the second or third.

  • I’m pretty sure this same situation was the subject of an episode of Law & order: SVU

  • hooville

    Well why was he out alone at 8pm on a Friday?
    Doesn’t he know that area isn’t safe?
    WHAT WAS HE WEARING THOUGH??????????????

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