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Shooting this morning at Columbia-Heights Metro

by Prince Of Petworth — April 8, 2011 at 10:22 am 191 Comments

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From the Washington Post:

“Shots have been fired near the intersection of 14th and Irving streets NW in Columbia Heights, disrupting rush hour along 14th Street and near the Columbia Heights metro station.

It is unclear whether anyone was hit or who fired the shots.”

Readers sent in word around 9am this morning. I’ll update when word is released from MPD. Anyone nearby when this happened?

UPDATE: A reader sends word on twitter:

“I was there right after. 5+ cop cars, bike cops & they had a kid (16 y.o.?) in custody & frisking. Air smelled of gunpowder.”

UPDATE from Council Member Graham:

“I want to provide information that I have received from MPD regarding the incident that occurred on the 3000 block of 14th St around 8:45 a.m. this morning.

MPD is in the very early stages of the investigation. But here is what I have been told.

A robbery occurred on the 2900 block of 13th St. NW. Moments later, Special Police Officers at Columbia Heights Village received information on the suspect. The suspect was seen on Columbia Heights Village property and pursuit of the suspect began. During the pursuit, shots were fired by Special Police on the 3000 block of 14th St.

Fortunately, there are no injuries. Both the robbery and the shots fired are under MPD investigation. And I am very concerned about shots being fired under any circumstance, but especially in a crowded area such as this.

If you have additional information please contact MPD or myself.”


“This morning, a 17 year-old juvenile male attempted to rob a citizen at gunpoint in the 1300 block of Harvard Street, NW. The suspect tried to snatch the complainant’s purse but failed. He then fled the scene on foot. A witness that had observed the attack followed the suspect to the 1400 block of Columbia Road. The witness observed 2 Special Police Officers walking in the block and alerted them to the armed robbery suspect. The SPOs approached the suspect and ordered him to the ground. Instead, the suspect reached for his waistband. One of the SPOs drew his weapon and fired at the suspect. The shot did not take effect. The suspect continued to flee but was apprehended a short distance away at 14th & Irving Streets by the SPOs and an off-duty MPD officer.

Due to the seriousness of the offences, the suspect is being charged as an adult.”

  • ESB

    I heard it from my apartment by the metro. Two loud shots just after 9 am. Police sirens followed about 2 minutes later. When I left for work around 9:10, police had a person in handcuffs on the west side of 14th & Irving.

    • Michael

      I’d put money on this kid not getting any serious punishment and being back on the streets shooting people in no time.

      • Natalie

        just to clear a few things up, it was the police, and more specifically, a special forces security guard, who did the shooting…into a crowded area of people heading to work and school (small children with their mothers, children heading to school–it didn’t matter)…at a teenager suspected of robbery…whose friend says he didn’t do anything (but so what if he did? does he deserved to be killed on the street for stealing a wallet?…and who, by some reports, suffers from mental illness.

        hope that clears things up. there is one person in this scenario who i’d like to see suffer very serious consequences for what happened this morning…and it ain’t the kid.

        • Dr Pangloss

          at a teenager suspected of robbery…whose friend says he didn’t do anything (but so what if he did? does he deserved to be killed on the street for stealing a wallet?…and who, by some reports, suffers from mental illness.

          Just a couple of quick observations: what exactly would you expect his friend to say? That he’s guilty?

          Also, as far as “by some reports” the perp suffers from “mental illness”, I’d be curious to know where you got this. There’s probably about a 100% chance the suspect suffers from various behavioral disorders (impulsivity, etc…) That’s the reason DCPS has such a crushing Special Education outlay compared to wealthier suburbs–the effects of multi-generational poverty usually manifest themselves as behavioral disorders.

          • Chris

            + 100000000000

            Thank you.

        • Anonymous

          Let’s clear one more thing up – the shots were fired because the suspect reached for his waistband when confronted by the police and ordered to the ground.

          It doesn’t matter if you just took a stick of gum from a convenience store – when a cop asks you to lie on the ground and you reach for your waistband you’re done. And rightly so. If my spouse was a cop I’d want them to do the same thing.

          • Anonymous

            Oh hell let’s go for one more thing:

            The suspect was suspected of robbing someone at gunpoint. The special police had prior knowledge that the guy was armed, and he started reaching for something in his waistband, a place where guns are usually kept.

          • agree. even if he was just trying to haul his pants up. robbery 101: if a cop tells you to lie on the ground, don’t reach for your waistband!! duh!

        • Jason

          Natalie, please. Let the cops do their job of keeping this neighborhood safe. Whenever someone reaches for something in a suspicious manner cops are forced to respond. Give me a break. The person robbing people on a Friday morning is the one I want to see suffer consequences.

        • Anonymous

          Yes; he will not go for a wallet again, putting innocents into apprehension and possible harms way.

        • Dago5

          Natalie, when you get robbed some day I hope you run to the police begging for help.

  • Anonymous

    it only gets worse as these future gangbangers get out of school for the summer….

  • Rosie

    Holy shit… first someone got shot the other night on Quincy st, and now shootings at the freaking metro station?! And I thought CH was a safe neighborhood!! I really hope the violence stops… definitely interested for more details when they come about what happened this morning.

    • Zoom268

      @Rosie You must be new…..

      • Rosie

        I’ve lived in CH for a year. I’m not blind to the crime that happens in the area, just a bit shocked that there have been two shootings within two days. Am I the only one surprised by this? If that makes me “new” so be it.

        • Anonymous

          If you’ve ever seen a DC violence density map, there is a big dark shaded area centered directly over CH. But, you know what is new in DC? We finally passed a law enabling release of details about violent youth offenders. The veil of secrecy for these repeat violent offenders certainly hasn’t helped. The law went into effect on March 15. If we could just get a registry, complete with photos and addresses!

        • joker

          If you’ve only lived there for a year, then yes…you are brand new.

          It seems the blogger hipster crowd thinks that CH has always been “gentrified” and “yuppified” when seeing a white girl walk the streets alone during the day in 2005 was a rare and odd event.

          The place was a huge ghetto 6 years ago. A few shiny new buildings doesn’t change that overnight, especially when there are still housing projects in the center of it all.

          • Denizen of Tenallytown

            But if we all cross our fingers and close our eyes and think positive thoughts, the poor, angry people will all leave us and our craft beers and tapas alone.

          • Annony

            No, it wasn’t a huge ghetto six years ago. Before the metro opened in Columbia Heights, yes it was pretty dismal.

      • Don’t act like it’s Devil’s Island or the Wild West or something…

        10 years ago, we didn’t dare walk East of 16th street, day or night.

        • Eric

          I wouldnt say 16th, and I wouldnt ever say it was *that* crazy dangerous, but back in 2000 when I first came to DC, I saw that there was a pretty stark demarcation at 14th. Some white people on the west side, very few walking on the east side.

          • Like I said… 16th Street.

          • Denizen of Tenallytown

            16th St was the de facto demarcation from feeling okay to feeling wary while walking down the street. There was simply no reason to go any further east prior to the Logan Circle and 14 St corridor revivals.

    • Marcus Aurelius

      I really hope the hyperbole stops. If by “safe” you mean a neighborhood where nothing bad ever happens, good luck finding that. I’m not excusing or diminishing anything. Just trying to add some context.

      • Rosie

        I never said that I thought the neighborhood was a utopia. There’s postings of crime in CH all the time. But knowing there was a shooting by the metro, a place I go several times a day, is just a little scary. Give me a break!

        • WDC

          Don’t worry Rosie. I’ve been here over five years, and am still shocked by this kind of thing. The 2am stuff doesn’t really spark a reaction with me, but 9am at the metro? If I had shaved my legs this morning, I would have been five minutes later out the door, and been right there, right then.

          • Nice Try

            Thank god you shaved your legs.

    • Denizen of Tenallytown

      “And I thought CH was a safe neighborhood!!”

      It is, relatively speaking. It doesn’t mean that hoodlums will no longer bring problems to the area, as many live just a few blocks away. There’s a reason DC USA is teaming with police officers.

      • LA

        Actually, Target has an ‘agreement’ with the MPD (think, shoplifting) and that’s why they frequent DCUSA a lot.

        • Denizen of Tenallytown

          That is true, and Best Buy as well as the overall DC USA complex hire off-duty police officers to compliment the standard issue private security service. This presence is needed because of the relatively high likelihood of loitering and theft taking place. You don’t see this presence at the Best Buy in Tenleytown.

    • Dr Pangloss

      So glad I live in Trinidad where things are safe and peaceful.

      • Jen

        That would be funny, if it weren’t so depressingly true.

    • Anon

      Crime is actually more frequent in CH than many neighborhoods east of the park. It doesnt mean its a bad neighborhood, it just means thats the reality of life there.

      • anon

        wait, doesn’t crime mean it’s a bad neighborhood? what constitutes a bad neighborhood then?

        • X


        • Anon

          well, maybe you think its a bad neighborhood, but the home values and the number of people who live there clearly indicate to me that a lot of people think its the best neighborhood, or otherwise they’d live somewhere else.

        • Anonymous

          train tacks

    • can we even think about getting RID of the stupid GUNS????

  • Pennyworth

    You guys have fun with that. I’ll stay in Hillcrest.

    • Anonymous

      How droll.

    • Anonymous

      And Trinidad!

  • Anonymous

    No idea if this is related, but it seems like it could have escalated and moved up Columbia. At around 3 AM this morning I woke up to about 20 teenagers absolutely beating the hell out of each other in the middle of 18th St at Kalorama (which my apartment looks at). There were several groups of 6-7 stomping on people, kids bashing each other in the middle of the street, etc. I called the cops and they asked if “they appeared to have any weapons” – to which I replied no, but that this was a 20 person fight and could escalate quickly, to which I got a “we already have a call about this we will respond soon”

    The cops came about 5 minutes later (seems pretty slow considering there is a police station about 500 feet away) and arrested a few kids, but the majority of them got away (and several continued to fight even while the cops were there)

    • Anonymous

      5 minutes is pretty standard response time to any emergency.

      For future reference, when asked if there are weapons, you always say “yes”.

      OCF is a very weak link in DC’s emergency response system. Don’t give them an excuse not to dispatch.

      It’s stupid that the Office of Unified Communications asks this. Who goes out and polls combatants as to whether they have a weapon? The police themselves aren’t going to assume that people fighting aren’t armed.

      • Dr Pangloss

        For future reference, when asked if there are weapons, you always say “yes”.


        If I ever see kids loitering in my alley, I always call 911 and tell the dispatcher I see them “smoking drugs.” Kids will always loiter, but I can make it slightly less pleasant to do so in my alley than the next one over.

        • dreas

          I say this, too. Unfortunately, it’s usually the case – for a long while, the section of my alley that can’t be seen from any street was the before and after school stop to smoke a joint. But in good news, we have made it *so* uncomfortable for them to loiter behind my house that they rarely do it anymore.

        • Jen

          There are kids that do drugs every single afternoon (no matter what the weather) behind my house in an alley. I’ve called and told them that they’re there, doing drugs, and I’ve also watched them walk around to the garage to steal bikes. The cops have never come quicker than under 2 hours.

          On another note, how did you make it uncomfortable for them to do so? (poster dreas) I seriously need some ideas. They scare the hell out of me, because I’m tired of them harassing me whenever I come home from work.

          • dreas

            We made it known we were watching, even if we didn’t always call the police. If I wasn’t up for a direct confrontation (i.e, if my husband wasn’t home), I’d make a point of taking the trash out, tidying up in the alley, dragging neighbors’ trash cans back to their houses, etc. Or one of us would open the back door or a window and tell them that they needed to go someplace else. Every single time we saw them, we made sure they knew we saw them and that we didn’t like what they were up to.

            But the difference might be that I never really felt threatened by them. They didn’t harass me and they never even really talked back when we told them to move. Obviously, they knew where we lived so we were careful to always set the alarm system. Also, they were “just” smoking pot. I don’t approve of that, especially before school, but they weren’t doing anything really nasty or something that would make them belligerent or more threatening. Good luck with getting them to move on. Very recently, I called MPD on a Saturday afternoon about my sketchy neighbor. Telling the dispatcher that he was 1) apparently under the influence and 2) looking in windows/walking up my back steps seemed to be the keys to getting a very fast response.

          • Dr Pangloss

            Also, sign up for you police listserv. (Maybe someone else can tell you which one it is for your neighborhood. Ours is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MPD-1D/).

            You get notice of citizen’s advisory council meetings, requests for Community Impact Statements from the DA’s office, an other information.

            That’s how you build personal relationships with your local police; and once you have that relationship, you can actually have a constructive dialogue.

      • Exactly – always say YES!

        • anon

          Yes, but don’t complain when the responses are slow because callers are falsifying reports and causing the priority list to get out of whack.

          Not to mention it is illegal.

          • Chris

            ummm – Why would they do that?

          • anon

            ummm – do what?

        • anonymous


          More serious crime: lying to the cops or jaywalking?

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, didnt think 5 minutes was “long” persay, just that I know there are cops right there all the time. I know they want back-up before engaging a group that large, though.

        Duly Noted on always saying yes. From here on out its always “15-20 kids decked out in head to toe body armor with assault rifles, and I am pretty sure one kid has a chainsaw for a hand”

        • Dr Pangloss

          I know they want back-up before engaging a group that large, though.

          I think there’d be a bit more of a deterrent effect if MPD came into any situation like this swinging truncheons. I’m dead serious–if you’re in your late teens, and rioting in the streets, MPD should jack your shit up.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, but when you call 9-11 you’re not calling the local police station. You’re calling somewhere in SE I think (not that electrons aren’t instantaneous), but then they have to make a decision, and then a separate call on a separate dispatch to relay the information. Then everyone has to look up from what they’re doing and move.

          5 minutes is an eternity in a life threatening event, but not that long to get a cop on scene.

          Which is why personal protection is such an important issue in a city like DC. A kid can beat you up and leave you for dead in less time than it takes for someone to make a call. –And the kids and their parents don’t really give a damn anyway.

          I was disgusted by the new NAACP radio add about the number of people locked up for non-violent offenses in DC. How about the number of violent people that aren’t locked up?

          • anon

            “Which is why personal protection is such an important issue in a city like DC.”

            wait, Krustie the Klown, is that you? are you going to tell us that every citizen should have their own handgun and then this would never happen?

          • alkebulan

            I’m disgusted by the number of people locked up for non-violent offenses. That is why there is not enought time dedicated to getting violent offenders.

  • SF

    Friday morning commute shootings?

    Dang, Columbia Heights!

  • cookietime420

    Wow, this is messed up. Columbia Heights is a million times safer than when I moved up the hill in 2001. I used to hear gun shots at least monthly. I’ll be curious to hear the story behind today’s shooting.

    Almost always, this kind of crime is some loser chasing down another loser, and I imagine that that’s the case here. But, of course, then there are the folks caught in the crossfire, like the little kid on Columbia Rd. and the woman on 14th and Harvard (I believe) who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • Anonymous

    I’m laughing at all of you from my lovely dinner at PF Changs in Ballston.

    • Rosie

      what’s funny?

    • So go start a Blog in Ballston.

    • Anonymous

      We’re all laughing at you because you eat at PF Changs. Enjoy your late 30s!

      • Anonymous

        Finish your irony burger and leave him alone.

    • anon

      I’d rather shoot myself than live in Ballston.

      • anon

        You don’t have to shoot yourself, all you have to do is hang out by the metro in CH.

      • rooty tooty

        I’d love to know what you’d rather do to yourself than live in centreville.

    • Chris



    • Geezer

      Dinner at 10:59AM? In Ballston? At PF Changs? Usage of the adjective “lovely”? And I thought I was old!

      • Anonymous

        Hey, he could be a hungover yuppie kid taking a “sick day” to gobble up some nasty faux-Chinese food. Late night at Clarendon Ballroom and all…

    • Anonymous

      Oh, let the guy have his moment in the sun. The only thing NoVA has that’s better than DC is less crime. Though he could’ve picked a place less depressing than Ballston if he really wanted to make us regret our residency decisions.

    • I Hate VA

      Impossible. In order to be in Ballston one has to relinquish their soul, and you can’t laugh without a soul.

  • carbs for all

    this is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Anonymous

    Over/under as to whether those involved are missing DYRS wards?

  • Anonymous

    It’s mind boggling to me that all these supposed disadvantaged youth have such expensive firearms. It’s almost like a right of passage for our children. Shoot or be shot by the age of 20.

    The shooter(s) who took out the 16 year old last night in SE and the 22 year old 2 nights ago on Quincy are still out there packing heat too.

  • Dr Pangloss

    Why we need less–and more dispersed–low-income housing. I hope these kids get the help they need when they’re living in PG County.

    • Anonymous

      Having less low-income housing doesn’t mean we’ll have fewer low-income people – just fewer low-income people with places to live. Yay homelessness!

      • Dr Pangloss

        Having less low-income housing doesn’t mean we’ll have fewer low-income people – just fewer low-income people with places to live.

        Wrong. DC already provides far and away the highest percentage of low-income housing per capita in the region. Time for MD and VA to do their fair share. And, yes Virginia, when you provide services that are more generous and more plentiful than those a 15 min bus ride away (across the border) you’re competing for low-income residents.

        Ever wonder why there’s a massive number of homeless in Boulder, CO? It ain’t because 3rd generation residents find themselves slipping into poverty. They’re attracted by the services. Just as DC has been trying (intentionally or not) to corner the regional market on poverty, homelessness, and dysfunction.

        • briefly

          Lots of people, including me, make good money off low income housing. I get paid about $1000 above my mortgage to warehouse a low income family (single mother, 26 years old, 3 kids, oldest 11). Ethically its ridiculous and I feel like a slaveowner but it really explains the DC poverty industry nicely for me. I want gentrification to increase the value of that house so I can sell it, but in the interim the non-bouncing checks from DCHA are sweet. And just imagine the real pimps who own dozens or hundreds of units….

          • rooty tooty

            it’s all fun and games until your house gets destroyed when the 11 year old starts getting high on meth next year.

          • Chris


            Your strange display of guilt doesn’t explain why you decided to go the DCHA route in the first place. I’ve been renting my house for years in Ward 5 with no problem. Is your house so undesireable that you can’t get a regular tennant in it?

          • briefly

            Chris, my house is quite nice overall, no palace of course. Its a 1926 brick duplex and was in utter neglect when I bought it about 7 years ago. I poured tens of thousands into it and hundreds of hours of my own labor and it came out quite nice according to me. When I left DC (by choice) I put it up for rental, I had about 20 people look at it all of whom were DCHA recipients. Ie, you don’t sign up with DCHA, they support people who look at your house etc. I was disappointed of course but I think given the area the house is in (Ward 4 / Georgia Ave) and the rental market value it attracted DCHA folks as it was within the rates DCHA would cover. My only option would have been to raise the rent beyond what the market and DCHA would support and not have a renter which I could not afford to do. I could theorize about a sort of DCHA redlining going on but don’t have enough stats to speculate.

            All in all I am very grateful to be out of the DC cesspool and making money off the house, so sneer at me all you want. I worked hard to buy the house and fix it up and worked hard to get out of DC. These actions will pay off for me over the long term I hope. The overall point is that poverty is a major business in DC, largely supported in a revolving door sort of system by the DC (and federal) government.

            To tooty: the house is a solid piece of work and I am insured, so all power to the meth head 😉

        • Anon

          Whats with your bullshit about PG County? I grew up there. Have you done anything but drive through and read some news reports?

          • Dr Pangloss

            Why the outrage? While I don’t live there now, I worked and lived in PG County for years during the 80s and 90s. Is there something specific you take issue with, or are you just defending the honor of the county in general?

            The DC population has been trending wealthier for more than a decade. DC’s black population has just fallen below 50% for the first time since the 60s. It can’t possibly be news that most of the emigration from DC ended across the border in MD, predominantly in Prince George’s county, can it?

  • ParkRdRezz

    Rosie, I’m with you on this one, obviously its DC and crime is going to happen, but a 9am shooting at one of the busiest intersections in the ‘hood is a little unnerving.

  • JD

    From Jim Graham:

    I want to provide information that I have received from MPD regarding the incident that occurred on the 3000 block of 14th St around 8:45 a.m. this morning.

    MPD is in the very early stages of the investigation. But here is what I have been told.

    A robbery occurred on the 2900 block of 13th St. NW. Moments later, Special Police Officers at Columbia Heights Village received information on the suspect. The suspect was seen on Columbia Heights Village property and pursuit of the suspect began. During the pursuit, shots were fired by Special Police on the 3000 block of 14th St.

    Fortunately, there are no injuries. Both the robbery and the shots fired are under MPD investigation. And I am very concerned about shots being fired under any circumstance, but especially in a crowded area such as this.

    • Anonymous

      Of course, Columbia Heights Village. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

      How many busts and arrests does one development need before the city recognizes it as the blight in the community that it is?

      • CH


      • sunsquashed

        + 1

      • Anonymous


      • Susan

        Could not agree more

      • briefly

        Mos Eisley still beats CH in many regards.

    • Rebecca

      I was right there when it happened this morning, and I’d like to point out that it was the POLICE that shot the gun. There were tons of people around, as there usually are during the morning commute (and most other times of the day), and the gunshot was shocking to children and adult alike. The police arrested a kid who looked to be no older than 18, and they had shot a gun in the air when they were chasing him and saw him reach in his pocket. I understand their reaction, but I still am horrified by the police’s actions. A gunshot was not necessary, and it riled up the public much more than they would have been had they just run a little faster and caught the kid without violence.

      • ontarioroader

        To clarify – Jum Graham’s email said it was a ‘Special Police Officer’, which is private security/rent-a-cop not MPD or any actual law enforcement agency.

        • so rentacops are shooting guns at fleeing robbers? uhhhh

        • anon

          Paul Blartt!

      • anonymouse

        so, where does that bullet land? or does it evaporate in the sky? mythbusters must have explored this at some point.

        • Bear

          I have always wanted to know the answer to this.

        • briefly

          Generally it gets picked up by winds and blows relatively away and lands somewhere. Its rare that people are injured by such. I remember reading that in the Vietnam War people in North Vietnam were given rifles and encouraged to shoot at US aircraft, and in cities this would result in thousands of people shooting in the air together as planes bombed the area. This led to a relatively large amount of people treated for wounds from falling bullets, but other than that I don’t think its common for such actions to result in injury. At least compared to targeted shootings, innocent bystanders, stray bullets, etc.

      • Anonymous

        would you rather it was the robber that fired the gun? I’m confused. honestly, shoot away.

      • CH

        So you’re chasing someone who just committed an “ARMED” robbery, he fails to stop when ordered to, turns on you and reaches for his waistband… Sorry, but I would have dropped him, unlike the SPO, I can aim.

      • rooty tooty

        If you were armed with a gun and someone reached into their waistband for what you perceived to be a gun, would you really not shoot? C’mon now.

        • anon

          You shoot them in the leg and wound them, just like in the movies!

      • anon_

        Seriously? This kid tried to rob someone at gunpoint and now you’re saying the cops shouldn’t have reacted the way they did? We can’t keep coddling these criminals.

      • Eric in Ledroit

        It’s really a shame the SPO missed

  • Richard Spry

    Oh, Columbia Heights. You’ve come so far, yet you have so very far to go.

  • thc

    How do you help those that don’t want to be helped? How do you reach the inner city youth / thugs that feel it’s their destiny to be a corner boy / criminal? When getting an education and hard work is considered “white” / “uncle Tom”, what do you do? I don’t know the answer, but it seems this has been a problem for the better part of 50 years. Government obviously hasn’t done much to help. Private Businesses don’t seem to do much either. What’s the answer? How do we reach out to these kids who will most likely be dead by 25 and/or will have had multiple jail sentences? What’s the real problem? More cops won’t do it. They’ll just throw the kids in jail and make them worse than they already are. Plus, the kids view that as a rite of passage. What is the root / core issue here? Poverty? Laziness? Peer Pressure? I don’t know. I wish I did, and I wish I had a bright idea to solve such issues.

    • Anonymous

      Until the kids figure out that violence is unacceptable, you need to put them some place that they can’t continue to do harm. It’s sad that prisons aren’t filled with sunshine and rainbows, but it protects INNOCENT people which is the point of prison.

      • Dr Pangloss

        You have a point here: the focus is always on “how can we reach this one ultra-violent youth out of hundreds of decent kids?” Maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe the question is, How can we protect these hundreds of decent kids from this one ultra-violent youth? The victims of these violent offenders are overwhelmingly poor black kids.

        If you’re caught with a gun in DC–or using violence in the commission of a crime–they should try you as an adult, and put you away for as long as the Supreme Court will allow.

        We’re failing the majority of decent kids by not taking the bad ones out of the schools and off the streets. Put them in jail until they’re 35. By then, the violence and impulsivity tends to mellow out.

        • Erik

          Indeed, 20 years in the shit holes that are our country’s prisons will mellow anyone out! We are so successful at rehabilitation of criminals…

          • Dr Pangloss

            For all the images you see in film and TV of some 40 year old ex-con getting out and wreaking vengeance on the society that took his youth–the reality is that very little violent crime is committed by that demographic.

            The bottom line is, that individuals life is well and truly fucked, and he’s certainly not going to be “rehabilitated” in the sense of being a productive member of society, but while he’ll be burden on society (homeless, whatever) he won’t be a threat to society.

            And more importantly, his youth peers will have a chance at actually making something out of their lives without being assaulted, killed, or feeling the peer-pressure to be likewise violent dirtballs.

          • Anonymous

            “For all the images you see in film and TV of some 40 year old ex-con getting out and wreaking vengeance on the society that took his youth–the reality is that very little violent crime is committed by that demographic.”

            Sure, there are very few reverse Charles Bronson types going on revenge killing sprees, but the real problem is much simpler and more pervasive.

            You go to jail for 20 years, you come out with no education, no skills, and a record that keeps you from getting any decent job. Your choices are now homeless, McDonald’s, or drug dealer/stick up kid. Which option do you think most people take?

          • Dr Pangloss

            At the very least, society has bought 20 years of respite. And that violent criminal’s peer group has at least been given a chance to grow up without worrying about getting shot for some trifling bullshit.

            And as you say, plenty of ex-cons choose homelessness, or McDonalds, or non-violent offenses when they get out. Does that suck for them? Yes. I care less about them than the kids that aren’t violent offenders, though.

        • rooty tooty

          the problem isn’t necessarily the law. it’s the lawyers (DA) enacting it, the charges they choose to press, the juries deciding the cases, and the judges assigning sentences. the law (shown below) seems to clearly give cause for a 5 year sentence in ANY firearm possession case.

          note that if you get busted committing a violent crime while in possession of a firearm in DC, there’s a 5 year minimum sentence. if someone has the stats on how frequently that charge gets tried, i’d love to see them.

          § 22-4504. Carrying concealed weapons; possession of weapons during commission of crime of violence; penalty

          (a) No person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon capable of being so concealed. Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in § 22-4515, except that:

          (1) A person who violates this section by carrying a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon, in a place other than the person’s dwelling place, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, shall be fined not more than $ 5,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both; or

          (2) If the violation of this section occurs after a person has been convicted in the District of Columbia of a violation of this section or of a felony, either in the District of Columbia or another jurisdiction, the person shall be fined not more than $ 10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

          (b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, rifle, or any other firearm or imitation firearm while committing a crime of violence or dangerous crime as defined in § 22-4501. Upon conviction of a violation of this subsection, the person may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 years and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 5 years and shall not be released on parole, or granted probation or suspension of sentence, prior to serving the mandatory-minimum sentence.

    • Tres

      Cosby was right. There’s a huge a cultural problem at play here. Some kids with braces and a charter school outfits tried to beat me up earlier this year. There’s something really wrong when kids who are getting the breaks venerate thug culture. I say lock em up. It’s not necessarily going to help the “perp kid” lead a middle class life down the line, but it will help all the other boys in his class, who will learn there are consequences to violence. I say we prioritize the good to middling kids over those that cross the line.

      DYRS is fucked. Kids see other kids skating all the time, and they have no incentive to stop. Current laws are like a welcome mat for criminal activity.

      • Dr Pangloss


        That’s exactly the calculation that no one seems to make: the kid with the highest profile is always going to be the violent offender. So we build an entire universe of services and structures to somehow address his problems.

        But the greater problem is the impact he has on is peers. We’re talking 1 in, what, a thousand? If he’s going to be the primary contributor to the destruction of the lives of his peers, put him in a fucking concrete hole and brick up the doorway.

        At this point, it’s the equivalent of concentrating on providing services to a pedophile in the hopes of someday rehabilitating him, because we don’t want to write him off–and meanwhile he’s out there raping kids.

        Let’s factor in the victims here as well. And make no mistake, the victims aren’t predominately white yuppie gentrifiers–the victims are poor, black kids, mostly boys.

      • Dr Pangloss

        Actually, it’s not a white-black things, it’s a class thing. It’s the reason why the vast majority of the black middle-class got the Hell out of the city during the 80s and 90s, leaving behind the poorest of the poor.

        Of course, with that outmigration, a lot of the black cultural institutions went to the ‘burbs as well. While this was blamed on “gentrifiers”, really it was just business following its customers. Now that the suburbs have essentially replicated DC’s black culture in the suburbs to a greater or lesser degree, those suburbs increasingly exert a pull on the poor and working class folks. As folks get off of welfare and enter the job market, they move to the burbs, since there’s less culture in the city to tie them to the place.

        This is all a roundabout way of saying, the percentage of DC voters who are willing to put up with the sort of violent nonsense, and no-strings-attached public assistance is rapidly dwindling. As DC does less and less, look to the Maryland suburbs to pick up the slack.

        • Anon

          The word you’re looking for is emigration.

        • Dr Pangloss

          No, actually, I wanted outmigration (or out-migration) emigration implies more of a personal movement. Out-migration connotes an ongoing process, and implies that it’s a group that’s doing it over time.

          Thanks for looking after the Queen’s English, though. Your efforts are appreciated.

    • The “root / core” problem is the US’s 300+ year history of legal slavery, segregation, and their societal aftereffects.

      • Dr Pangloss

        Yup. Unfortunately, we’re left with the choice of addressing the fallout from that legacy now, or constructing a time-machine and fixing it 300 years ago.

        • Of course. I was just being literal in response to a rhetorical question above. Absent a time machine, a course correction is virtually impossible. But no one should ever wonder why we have a seemingly permanent African American underclass, a distinct portion of which is predisposed to violence and larceny.

        • Your Mom

          One point twenty-one jiggawatts?!

  • KM

    Well, that’s lovely. At about the same time, MPD was threatening me with a jaywalking ticket on 16th and U St. The MPD is seriously a joke.

    • Anonymous

      Actually they’re not a joke.

      But you’re just like the kids –think the rules don’t apply to you and the cops should be doing something else.

      It’s the same entitlement attitude in a yuppie package.

      • Bear

        all rules are created equal? robbery is equivalent to jaywalking?

        • Haile Unlikely

          What about a citizen qualifies him or her to make his or her own declarations regarding which laws must be obeyed and which must not be? I occasionally drive a few miles per hour over the speed limit, and it wouldn’t be unheard of for me to jaywalk, but if I choose to do so, I accept that unless and until the law is changed, the consequences are what they are, period.

          • 11th

            +1 exactly.

          • anonymous

            if these armed robbers were smart they’d just have all their friends jaywalk at the exact same time the robbery was going down. foolproof plan.

          • Anonymous

            Or go to PF Changs in Ballston where no one is suspecting it.

        • Jason

          +1 Thank you.

      • thc

        Give me a break! Jaywalking and shooting are two very, very, very, very, very, different things. Cops really should not worry about Jaywalking, it’s stupid. Shooting on the other hand can KILL someone. What a ridiculous attitude.

        • There you go again! I tell you I don’t understand why small crimes are ok with this neighborhood.

          Broken Windows…

          • photodork

            I actually happen to agree with you on this one Frankie…these guys complain out one side of their mouth that the cops are scum and can’t stop the criminals, and complain out the other when they get stopped for breaking the law.

      • Dr Pangloss

        You’re one morally stunted individual.

      • 11th

        +1 that MPD isn’t a joke and that you shouldn’t bitch about getting called out for jaywalking.

      • KM

        Actually, I wasn’t jaywalking. I stepped off the curb to look past a truck. As I said, I was THREATENED with a ticket, not actually given one. Mainly because I WASN’T jaywalking.

        So thanks for your yuppie lecture, but no thanks.

        • anon

          Sounds like you got lectured. Bad yuppie.

          There is a reason jaywalking is illegal.

          • Anonymous

            i jaywalk on my residential street all the time.

          • Chris


            To those who think jaywalking should be enforced: how many of you, first of all, actually walk? Next, how many of you who do can actually say that you have never jaywalked? Lastly, if you polled most DC residents, do you think they would want our police force out on the streets writing tickets for minor infractions or other rather, being more vigilant in high crime spots like this damn metro station?

            There’s just too much serious crime in the city to take time out to enforce these petty offenses. If people end up getting hit by cars because they’re careless, what can you do? I’d personally rather see our attention placed on more serious crimes. Who knows, one day when our crime rates mimic Aspen’s, then by all means, MPD should write as many jaywalking citations as it can.

          • photodork

            See: 08 April 2011 1:59 PM | Haile Unlikely Said:

          • Dr Pangloss

            Jaywalking enforcement is critically important because losers who walk need to get the fuck out of my way.

            Broken windows!

  • anon

    Are Rent-A-Cops allowed to carry weapons and are they trained to use them? I certainly don’t know all the details of the incident, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why a robbery would ever call for shooting by a rent-a-cop in a highly populated area!

    • ontarioroader

      Yes, some of them are. Rent-a-cops [Special Police Officers/SPO’s] are divided into 2 categories here, either armed, or unarmed.

    • Anonymous

      uh… robber with a GUN reaches for it when approached by police after attempting to rob someone, with a GUN… what are you missing?

  • WDC

    I actually have a spot of experience here. Granted, my experience is in another country, another culture, and a whole ‘nother level of poverty and desperation, but…

    My organization runs a project on the other side of the world that reaches over 12,000 unemployed, illiterate women. We reel ’em in with food rations (desperately needed), and then have them attend weekly meetings where they receive education on a variety of topics. Literacy, vocational, parenting, financial, and less tangible subjects such as civil/legal rights and responsibilities and cultural norms. The results are impressive.

    Why aren’t we requiring recipients of public assistance to further their education? Not their schooling, necessarily, but their general knowledge and goals?

    • Dr Pangloss

      Because there’s a large part of the DC electorate that feels that any strings attached to the welfare payout is some sort of onerous paternalism. Also, these are the sorts of programs that most Western democracies fund at the national level–to great effect. Unfortunately, asking DC to solve the social ills that the greater America as turned its back on is unrealistic: it has the potential to bankrupt the District as we become the “poverty sink” of the region.

      • Anonymous

        that’s funny. welfare in itself is paternalism.

      • mphs

        Wow, you are really busy posting your thoughts today. I keep thinking you’ll say something to agree with, but nope. Nothing there.

        Starting with the premise that the United States does not lock up enough black youth. That’s still something we’re good at. USA, #1. But, since that’s not working, maybe you can think up somethin’ new.

        • Dr Pangloss

          Where on Earth did you get the idea that I think we don’t “lock up enough black youth.” Non-violent youth offenders should never be locked up. Youth offenders (black or white) who use a gun or other deadly weapon should be locked up for a very, very long time.

          In any case, while the US may lock up a lot of black youth, DC certainly does not. A lot of DC residents tend to think that DC can absolve the greater nation of all its sins if we just try hard enough–and spend enough money. Won’t happen.

          • mphs

            I think it’s clear in your posts, you want more lock ups. And, if you lengthen the sentences, too, then of course, there will be a resulting increase in the incarceration rate over time. Do the math. Person X is in jail for 20 yrs, and thus in the numerator for 20 years.

            And, blacks are already 7x more likely to be locked up than the rest. Again, incarceration ain’t working, is it?

          • Tres

            No offense, but it almost sounds like you’re arguing that not locking up violent offenders is in some way feasible. While jail time is indeed an awesome and absolutely necessary deterrent (vs. no jail time at all for violent crimes), it isn’t the end all be all of preventative measures. Everyone can agree on that. So why don’t you rather share some of your suggestions as to other types of preventative measures?

    • I am ok with the Education requirment.

      Finish a week in some kind of trainging class, tech school, computer lab, garden center, etc…

      Then you can pick up your check – paid only for the days you attended your class.

      Need Child care & transportation, ok DC should pay that while you attending classes or go work for it.

      Clean the streets, intern the DC park service, something.

  • (ex)JodiHeights

    Why is everyone so surprised that there was a shot fired near the Metro?
    There were people hit by gunfire in front of that Five Guys about two years ago, the murder of Oscar Fuentes just behind the Metro about a year & a half, and constant other gun-related murders & incidents all around there.

    Criminals (and sociopaths) don’t typically care who you are or where they are when they act out.
    That includes Small Town, USA.
    And it includes a DC Metro station.


    • dcmer610

      And don’t forget the gun-point robbery of the guy’s backpack outside the metro a week or so ago. Granted, that was at 10pm and the 9am aspect of this situation is pretty nuts but…anywhere in this neighborhood, at any time, you can’t drop the risk of encountering these thugs.

  • thc

    It’s not the “small crimes” are OK, but to compare Jaywalking and a Shooting, and for cops to focus on the former, is just dumb. Cops should use their time on the clock for more important things, such as finding people who shoot at one another.

    • No.

      In my opinion – Police should be investigating and processing every single crime – no exceptions.

      • thc

        That’s a great way to waste my already over taxed paycheck. Good thinking!

        • poomonster

          totally need more cops on the street investigating and processing all the jaywalking criminals turning this town to chaos!!!!

          • Small crimes are ok in DC… go for it!

          • poomonster

            if by “small crimes” you mean “jaywalking” and and by “ok” you mean “who gives a shit” then yes small crimes are ok in dc.

        • Chris

          + 100000000

          Frankie – this is not Smallville!

        • Anonymous

          What would the jaywalk cops have been doing, though, if they had not talked to the ‘potential jaywalker?’ Probably would be standing there. They were dealing with the issue at hand. It’s not as if they left the scene of the shooting to go stop a jaywalker.

          It’s not always an either-or. Now, if they had been writing a jaywalking ticket and had gotten the call about a shooting, that’s when they drop it and go to the more serious activity.

          • Dr Pangloss

            I was at the Harris Teeter this afternoon buying some groceries. A MPD sergeant bagged up my groceries for me while carrying on a conversation with the cashier about the government shutdown.

            In my book, that’s a much better use of police resources than writing jaywalking tickets.

          • Anonymous

            Only if the MPD sergant is getting paid a bagger’s salary…

  • Jay

    No shock. The “parents” of these kids are just as ignorant and violent. Last night getting on the bus this woman and son were pushing me. I turned to them and said “excuse me” to back them off. Well, needless to say the woman cussed me out in front of her young son and threatened with me violence. I’ve seen these aggressive people cuss people out in Target. Just nasty. I think it is time they look at deconcentrating the number of section 8 units south of the Columbia Metro Station.

    • Anonymous


    • arm

      I’m so repulsed by the behavior of these so called mothers. I witnessed one yesterday screaming at her crying child to shut the F*** up or else she was going to F***ing smack him. Then she resumed her cell phone convo.

      I support forced parenting classes. Either that or sterilization.

      • sunsquashed

        Wait…do you live on Meridian Pl, and was this last night?

        • Dr Pangloss

          Pick any random corner in DC on any given day. I saw a young mom with two kids–who looked like they were about 10 and 5–who were carrying home groceries at around 9pm the other night (by the Kennedy Center). One of the girls mentioned that her arms were tired, and the mother let loose on a tirade of f-bombs.

          I felt like *I* was abusing my 4 yo just letting her observe this shit-show. And of course that kind of abuse and the unending stress it inflicts is going to turn those little girls into another generation of basket-cases. And if they’re in DCPS–and if the mom can be prodded to give a shit–they’ll end up being yet another Special Ed case destroying the financial viability of the system.


        • arm

          Nope, actually in front of the CVS on 14th and Irving. But it is something I see almost everyday.

          Though in my opinion, nothing will ever beat the mom I once witnessed blowing cigarette smoke into her baby’s face, then complaining to her friend how the “damn thing” always gets sick.

          Seriously…STOP HAVING CHILDREN!

    • Keepin’ it real

      +1 billion.

    • Kenny

      Seriously – the CH Village Apts, the housing on the 1300 block of Columbia, and the Apt building south of CVS all have serious value…

  • Bubblegum

    (ex)JodiHeights- it wasn’t the criminal that shot the gun but “shots were fired by Special Police.”

    • (ex)JodiHeights

      I read that.

      I meant shots fired in general, whether it be by a perpetrator or officer in pursuit of one…
      There is perpetually action & activity around the Columbia Heights Metro/”downtown.”

  • anonymous

    Firing shots during rush hour in one of the busiest intersections of DC… sounds to me like the officer should be fired himself.

    • Anonymous

      yeah, probably he should have let the kid shoot first just to make it more PC.

  • ChrisDC

    Too bad the cops missed.

    • Anonymous


  • hh

    Does anyone know if the police will release a mug shot of the arrested? Or does anyone know of a why I can find a mug shot? There’s a chance that this might be the same person who tried to mug me a few weeks back.

    • ontarioroader

      It was a minor, you won’t get any info released. The kid is probably back on the street.

  • G. Ron G.

    Agreed – this has been clearly demonstrated.

  • And Gray

    raises the taxes on those making $200K+. I understand that the wealthy need to pay their fair share (I do not earn that type of money, btw), but the sad truth is that with all of the reasons to leave DC, it’s is unwise to once again take a bite from those who are already basically soley supporting this mess while paying considerably more than those in the same tax brackets in neighboring states. While it’s certainly tempting to gouge them, it’s extremely short-sighted. DC does not have the luxury of trapping rich tax payers the way places like California do – it’s waaayyy too easy to move to VA or MD. And when that happens, the city’s deficit will skyrocket, leaving everyone in a greater world of hurt.

    • Anonymous

      Then get rid of the poor. Cut social services for offenders and their parents. Have them pay for their own life skills training.

  • newby

    We moved into CH – the same block of the shooting – last weekend. My spouse was on the street, near the Starbucks when the shots rang out this morning. We have no idea what we’ve gotten ourselves into.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t worry too much – they’re not aiming for you. It’s pretty unsettling until you realize that almost none of the crime is focused at you. The odds of something bad happening directly to you are pretty low. Something happening around you? A little higher. Things are changing a lot in DC and this kind of crap happened more often years ago, it’s just talked about more and services are demanded as new people move in and are shocked by how savage these thugs can be.Slowly, they are being met. Unfortunately, half of the government only beckons to what a few constituents want and not what is morally or socially right. They’ve dug themselves quite a hole.

  • victoria

    All tangential discussions aside for a minute – is there an actual protocol/training for an officer (“special” or “real”)running after a fleeing suspect through a dense crowd?

    Even if the officer assumes the fleeing suspect has a weapon, is the officer really supposed to run through the crowd with his own gun in hand?

    This officer, according to his account as reported so far (and early reports should always be read skeptically), shot when he saw the suspect reach for his waistband. This seems it would mean the officer did not see a gun in the fleeing suspect’s hand when the officer first drew his own gun and began pursuit through the crowd.

    Wouldn’t it be smarter to not antagonize the suspect to actually pull the weapon and shoot someone?

    • Anomynous

      A lot of those SPOs are military. We use them where I work (a federal facility). I’m pretty glad they’r there.

  • Officer Cicero

    ” is there an actual protocol/training for an officer (“special” or “real”)running after a fleeing suspect through a dense crowd?”

    Yes, don’t do it; out (MPD) General Orders say in unequivocal words not to do it.

    “Even if the officer assumes the fleeing suspect has a weapon, is the officer really supposed to run through the crowd with his own gun in hand?”

    There’s no regulation, but I wouldn’t. It’s not a good idea to run through a crowd (or in general) with a gun in your hand. You can keep it in the holster with the retention strap disengaged if you really need that extra half second.

    “This seems it would mean the officer did not see a gun in the fleeing suspect’s hand when the officer first drew his own gun and began pursuit through the crowd.”

    There’s no crime in drawing out one’s weapon. However the SPO (i.e. guard) is going to be in some shit if its found 1) he fired into a crowd 2) fired not “To defend him or herself or another from an attack which the officer has reasonable cause to believe could result in death or serious bodily injury” (i.e. DCMR 6A 207.2). As an officer, someone reaching into their waistband isn’t grounds to fire off some shots unless you can see a weapon and even then it depends on what happened.

  • victoria

    Thanks Officer for the explanation.


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