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Apparent Innocent Bystander, 23 Year Old AU Graduate, Killed in Saturday Afternoon’s Shooting in Shaw

by Prince Of Petworth August 16, 2015 at 6:49 am 135 Comments

via Facebook

From MPD:

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch are investigating the homicide that occurred in the 1800 block of Seventh Street, Northwest on Saturday, August 15, 2015, at approximately 4:50 pm.

Third District officers responding to a call for a shooting located an adult male victim suffering from a gunshot wound in the block, unconscious and unresponsive. The victim was transported to an area hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. The decedent was later transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The decedent has been identified as 23 year-old Matthew Castrol Shlonsky, of Northeast, Washington.

Pursuant to the investigation, detectives are seeking a burgundy Chrysler 300, with a Maryland registration. The vehicle is equipped with a sunroof. The vehicle was observed fleeing the area of the offense.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (202) 727.9099.

The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.”

The Washington Post reports:

Online information indicated that he was a member of the class of 2014 at American University and was on the honor roll.

There was no indication that he was the intended target of the startling flurry of late afternoon gunfire in Shaw.”

Ed. Note: This is the second recent senseless tragedy for American University. On July 4th an American University graduate, Kevin Sutherland, was killed aboard a metro train at the NoMa station.

  • kbloomingdale

    The people that commit idiotic and senseless crimes like this this are the scum that needs wiping off my shoe. I hope they’re caught and go away for a long time.

    My thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends. It’s scary to think that my gf and I could have been him. We go through there at the same time depending on dinner/drink plans.

  • Eastof9

    RIP. This makes me so sad.

  • Petworth Diva

    So awful that a total innocent, presumably not the intended target of the shooting, was killed in an area I frequent so much. Actually, I was driving through there just yesterday @ the same time. RIP

  • Tony

    This makes me so sad. Sad for this young man’s loss of life. Sad for his friends and family. Sad for this city. Sad that nobody seems to know what’s behind this nation-wide increase in crime. DC has come so far the past few decades. I just hate hearing about stuff like this. Just sickening.

    • Anon

      I feel like criminals are emboldened by the events in Ferguson, NYC and Baltimore. They know police have their hands tied and are running rampant through cities

      • NWster

        I agree and when I have shared this perspective, I have been generally dismissed. Our “leaders” need take action and show that law-abiding people in this city will be protected – one demand is to reinstate unmarked vehicle-based plain clothed vice units empowered to make aggressive arrests. And we the people need to support the cops in this diffuclt and dangerous endeavor and cease engaging in the politically-corect feelgood cop-bashing. Otherwise, expect ore of the same.

        • SomePeopleOnThisSiteSheesh

          Reinstating plain clothes vice units: good idea

          Blaming murders in DC on people hundreds of miles away protesting the fact that cops are killing unarmed citizens: bad idea

          • Anahn


            Dumb dumbs have to be super dumb to think that protests calling for justice for state-sponsored killings causes more crime to occur. Seriously one of the most irrational things I’ve ever heard.

  • Cam

    Yes, incredibly sad and upsetting. Shocking? Sigh, no. And it angers me precisely because another shooting, especially one in which an innocent victim appears to be the target, was looking pretty likely given the recent history of bullets flying around this neck of the woods. This is exactly why I avoid the area on my walks through the city and will continue to do so at every hour of the day. It reinforces my fears and also my pessimism that things will not improve any time soon, despite the new police tent. It’s unacceptable that violence in this neighborhood and other trouble spots in DC keeps erupting with regularity. I don’t have all the answers, but I’d sure like to see more stepped up effort by our mayor to address the significant increase in homicides. That tent is not nearly enough. Let’s stop blaming synthetic drugs and summer temperatures and trade excuses for action. Please! My heartfelt sympathy to this young man’s family and friends. It could have been a lot of us, and if the shootings expand, may be more DC residents. We all need to be concerned and press the mayor and the police for serious help.

    • gk

      well put

  • Reality

    Awful and tragic. These random acts of violence are increasing and a REAL plan from the city is needed.

  • neighbor

    Of course it was a Maryland driver.

    • Anon

      Not now, chief.

  • sbc

    This is at least the second innocent bystander killed in Shaw this summer. Tamara Gliss was at a bbq over memorial day when she was shot on O between 6th and 7th. Add this to the metro stabbing and Hill Rag reporter Charnice Milton getting killed on her way home from an ANC meeting and it doesn’t feel safe even to be just minding your own business. I hope they find and convict all these killers soon.

  • Anon

    This just sickens, infuriates and saddens me all at once. I live on 7th St, graduated from AU a few years ago, and was walking down this block yesterday just an hour before.

  • Anon

    Has it come to this? You can’t walk down the street in your own neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon?

  • Lisa

    *tears* for this beautiful young man, and prayers for his family and friends.

  • P

    Hi- His middle name is Castro not castrol. thank you!

  • Jack Stevens

    We need tougher policing. You jay walk, stop and frisk, too many guns and everyone is trying to be PC on police relations. Police are meant to enforce the law, not just respond to crime. Can’t have it both ways unfortunately, just need to ensure the crush that should come on criminals stays on them only. And it’s not hard to figure it out. Immediately lobby the president for emergency funds to hire an additional 100 police officers and put them on other “detail”. Get the smart tough cops on the street cracking heads and getting the guns and drugs off. No POS on the street, no one to miss while hitting an innocent.

    • Jack Stevens I as someone who has seen innocent bystanders who had info for the police get their heads cracked I strongly disagree with your comment. Enforcing a law before a crime is committed leads to profiling. As a minority I don’t want to go down that road again.

      • Jack Stevens

        Im fully aware that tough policing is not currently the flavor of the day. I’m also fairly certain that in under 12 months we will have strong data that the lack of enforcement of stop and frisk has lead to the surge in guns on the streets. Additionally I’ve been profiled (by the LAPD) and they were right, I should not have been where I was. I would love examples of where soft policing has led to less crime.

        • Anonymous

          Look at Baltimore now that “soft policing” has been the norm for 6 months. Crime has skyrocketed. I agree with Jack Stevens. Enough is enough, give police the tools to do their job. I’d like to see the loitering law thoughtfully reversed. Much of the crime that occurs starts with ‘innocent’ loitering. Also need tougher prosecution laws, especially for juveniles

          • Anon

            +1 loitering laws need to be reinstated

      • neighbor

        Don’t be dense. He’s not talking about randomly shaking down civilians. We hear a constant refrain from police and politicians that it’s a small number of people responsible for most of the violence. It’s not hard to target enforcement at those individuals. And anyone who has lived in the city for long knows there are many many better social, behavioral, and physical cues than skin color. Racial profiling is not effective policing, but aggressive policing and racial profiling are not one in the same.

    • sbc

      You can’t expect the same people you stop and frisk for jaywalking to come to you if they witness a crime. There needs to be a balance between tough policing and community relations. I don’t think we have it right now, but I don’t think we can jump to an extreme.

      • DC CapHill

        To have “community policing” you’d have to actually LIVE in the community, like the Police USED TO do.

        I’d like a mandatory return to this kind of ideal. You know everyone that way, good and bad. You don’t need “snitches” when you yourself can easily ID the knuckleheads around your way.

        • The OP Anon

          IIRC, MPD actually has the highest % of cops living in the city itself of all major metropolitan police forces in the country (something like 55%+). It’s also the most diverse (i.e. non-white male) police force in the country.

    • Bitter Elitist

      Police don’t need to waste time on jaywalking. S&F doesn’t work and would certainly not have worked in this drive-by situation.

  • Susan

    My heart breaks for Mathhew’s family and friends!

    My heart breaks for our city! I love it here, but right now I hate living here

  • anonyme

    A few days ago, in response to the triple shootings just a few blocks from this one, several people commented that it would take an innocent bystander being killed for real change to finally happen. Well, the time appears to have come–tragically, even sooner than most people could have predicted. Something needs to be done (although, I’ll admit, I don’t know exactly what). More police on the streets? More targeted policing of known “trouble spots?” More aggressive prosecution? All I know is that, while living in a city does of course come with certain known/accepted risks, the risk of being shot to death in the middle of a Saturday afternoon outside of a major metro station, by a drive-by shooter, is not and should never be one of these accepted risks. Everyone should be up in arms (figuratively, not literally) about this awful, senseless killing.

    • Shaw-N

      Much of this violence is gang turf war. The answer is to eliminate their turf. Period.

      Honestly, I’d tear down and redevelop the housing projects that tend to the be center of this violence. The shootings around 6th and 7th at O are all related to the housing developments right there. I have a feeling the one in Truxton Circle (and the several shootings that have occurred around 3rd and Q and 1st and Q) are related to that housing development along Florida Avenue.

      Tear them down, redevelop them and get the gang bangers out of there. Period.

      • Matt N.

        I suspect bulldozing their “turf” would not deal with the underlying problems that are the real cause of these kinds of events. As much as it turns my stomach to say it, I think a more assertive police presence in these hot spots, combined with more stringent judicial action, is the only thing that will really make a difference. Those who think it’s just fine to indiscriminately open fire in broad daylight aren’t capable of being turned to good behavior and sensibility — by that point they’re too far gone.

        Let’s start by cracking down on loitering, particularly among the crews in places like Petworth. Pass legislation that makes it possible for MPD to take stronger action against the kids who ride around on ATVs and dirt bikes. If nothing else, plus up the force so that there are simply more bodies in uniforms on the streets at all times. Deterrence won’t solve the problem, but it will help.

        That said, there’s almost certainly value in social and economic intervention programs when they are applied before the point of no return. The question is whether the city’s government can actually implement such programs. History says they cannot, or will not.

        • Jack

          Agree 200 percent. Time to be tough and ask questions later. We can’t have our police scared to do their jobs when criminals aren’t scared to shoot innocents in the middle of the day.

          • Anonymous

            I haven’t heard anything suggesting that “police scared to do their jobs” is particularly an issue in DC.

          • west_egg

            “Time to be tough and ask questions later.”
            Yes, more Eric Garners and Michael Browns are exactly what we need. Seriously, have we learned nothing?

          • Matt N.

            Yeah, I think Jack kind of missed my point. There’s a large difference between police having the legal authority to take actions they can’t now (e.g. on loitering and ATVs, among others), and creating another Michael Brown scenario.

          • Jack Stevens

            I’m not missing the point and don’t need to get into a conversation about situations I’m not a half mike from with my family. Again, DC police are mostly fair and very diverse. Tough on the right people works, weak on everyone does not. Give one example where soft policing has lead to noticeable and maintained lower crime. I’m not talking irrational policing, simply put if criminals want to commit crime, they will be put away BEFORE they get to shoot and KILL innocents

        • Shaw-N

          Sorry, but I have to really disagree. Turf gang warfare is inextricably linked to the turf. Aggregation of poverty and cordoning off lower income people together is completely responsible for the high incidence of crime in those areas. I’m not saying these people who are committing these crimes will all of a sudden become good citizens of the city by being forced out. But aggregating poverty leads to higher incidents of this kind of crime. The city needs to do more to offer options to people living in these places to get out or redevelop into more mixed income developments and removing the troublemakers.

          Then again, this happens all over the city. It’s only now that people are paying attention because frankly there are so few places in DC west of the Anacostia that hasn’t quickly become wealthier and whiter. This gang warfare happens every day east of the Anacostia and no one cares or calls for a greater police presence. Aggregation of poverty, de facto racial segregation in schools in DC, and ghettofication of the poor is the largest single contributor to this phenomenon.

        • Anonymous

          Loitering isn’t illegal.

          • NoLoitering

            It should be

          • Anonymous

            Maybe it’s about time we change that

      • Eastof9

        I agree. But there’s no political interest in getting rid of this notoriously bad housing and replacing it with mixed income. The city refuses to even maintain some public housing or surrounding streets creating an off the grid feel that contributes to lawlessness.

        • gk

          +1000 on tearing down the current, obsolete poverty concentrating model of public housing and replacing with mixed income. Sadly, a new ALL extremely low income development is replacing what was torn down at 7th and R. There’s no political will to rethink affordable housing in DC.

          • Anonymous

            And developers seem to skirt true mixed income requirements.

          • PCC

            The other half of mixed income housing will be to add more low-income housing in rich parts of town. Meanwhile, building ANY new housing, even high-income housing, is well nigh impossible. Witness the years of lawsuits that await any new building, or minor change to zoning, proposed in Ward 3…

        • Alan

          To the contrary, tearing down public housing and replacing it with “mixed income” developments has been de facto government policy since the Clinton administration. It hasn’t lessened policy. It hasn’t reduced gang membership. It generally has just enriched developers.

          • Alan

            Hasn’t lessened poverty. Not policy. Autocorrect.

      • Shaw Resident of 15 years

        If you want a different viewpoint from Shaw-n, check out this article https://www.takepart.com/article/2015/08/10/best-and-worst-states-americas-kids

        • Anonymous

          Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

        • neighbor

          I hope this nonsense wasn’t written by someone who actually lives in DC. Anytime you compare DC as a state it’s going to look different (usually bad). The relevant comparison would be other urban cities.

        • Shaw-N

          Just curious how this is a different view point than mine? I’d say it actually pretty much supports my viewpoint that aggregation of poverty is bad. Bad for everyone. We should stop shoving poor into ghettos and segregating their children from our own.

          Look no further than the schools in DC to see what de facto segregation does.

      • Kevin

        “Tear them down, redevelop them and get the gang bangers out of there. Period.”

        “Period”? Oh, how simple a solution. Nice and easy. Put up some luxury condos and the band stuff will be gone.

        What about the 95% of the people who live there who are not “gang bangers”? Not your problem, right?

        • truxie

          Not saying that the solution is to displace the 95% good, but those complexes at 1st-3rd Q/R and 7th-O need to go – concentrating poor people combined with poor city maintenance etc only leads to areas that are harder to police. They should be torn down – there are many better models for integrated mixed incomes

          • Thought

            Many of our current council members are of the thinking that concentrating poverty guarantees their re-election. The Ward 1 council member comes to mind. My block of 20 houses is firmly against Nadeau. Unfortunately we are outnumbered by the 300 unit Section 8 housing up the street. Who do you think has her attention?

          • Anonymous

            ‘Thought’, you are completely right on Nadeau. She plays the politics game (although she did a good job convincing us otherwise during the election). She will bring section 8 all over the ward if she can then do a couple community safety walks and pat herself on the back.

          • Anonymous

            So 20 votes should count for more than 300 simply because you paid a lot for your house? Tyranny of the minority (ironic!). I’m not sure why you feel like you deserve outsized power and influence over your representative. Or why your needs are greater than those awful poors down the street
            Ps – why did you choose to next move to them, if you disdain them so greatly?

          • Accountering

            I don’t think Thought is saying that in the least (nice try though!) but simply stating that Nadeau is pandering to the 300 and not doing whats best for the city as a result (focusing on crime)
            Also stating that perhaps CMs who favor affordable housing will like to concentrate that AH in their ward, as they can then win reelection easily.

          • Anonymous

            Nadeau is also trying to bring hundreds of new “voters” into the Old Hebrew home on Spring St which is against the majority of the neighborhood. They are trying to confuse people with the ‘affordable’ aspect. The survey that was sent around (mind you after the decision had been made in 5 days) was laughable as it was only giving options that were a win for her agenda. No option existed that was something reasonable like half market and half affordable

        • Shaw-N

          Yes, tear them down, redevelop them. Those that live there that are not gang bangers should absolutely have the chance to return. But those with criminal records should be booted. Period. I said that above if you had bothered to read my other comments on this.

          They don’t have to be luxury condos either. I don’t care if rich white people get to live in Shaw. But there’s nothing wrong with actual mixed income housing that preserves residences for people who have lived in the neighborhood for decades and offers more housing to others who want to come into the neighborhood while ridding the area of the residents who cause trouble. It makes a hell of lot more sense than building giant fences around complexes full of the poorest in our city and expecting their problems to stay inside the fences.

          Not sure how many people have to actually get shot, or live in fear of walking out of their own houses before the city realizes the status quo isn’t working.

          • Alan

            Shaw N, it never works out like that in reality. Building large housing developments takes years to accomplish in this town. By then, any residents in demolished housing have moved on, usually out of the city, since low income housing is so scarce now, thanks to policy makers who think like you and tear down public housing in favor of private sector mixed income (which by definition equals less housing for poor people in the finished spaces than existed previously). What you’re advocating for will result in mass displacement of people who can’t afford to exist in limbo waiting around for mixed income housing units to be constructed.

  • Duponter

    It makes you wonder why any parents would ever send their kids here to go to college. Two very recent AU grads killed within a few months of each other in this city.

    Also, we should also ask ourselves how much we care about the many other homicides in this city that aren’t recently graduated college graduates who are white. Someone was killed a few blocks east of there Friday night/early Saturday morning in Truxton Circle. I haven’t seen any news about that death other than that it occurred.

    • Neal – Som Records

      I mostly agree with you Duponter but for me the shocking thing about this killing is less about the victim’s race and more about its sheer randomness. The time of day and location add to it. I don’t know all the details of the Truxton shooting (we should know more than we do) but that one happened at night and appeared less random. Both killings are tragic and as a resident of Ledroit Park (whose kid goes to school two blocks from the Truxton shooting) particularly worrisome.

      • Anon

        Hi. Over privileged, over sheltered white woman here. Don’t you think that a lot of those black people in poor neighborhoods were also innocent and killed randomly, and it just doesn’t get reported that way in news? It just gets reported as a line item – “man shot and killed in SE,” etc. And we just assume – “Oh, probably a gang banger. Probably a drug dealer. Can’t relate. Nothing to worry about.” But it stands to reason that random, senseless, broad daylight killings of innocents happen in bad neighborhoods too. You can’t ignore race and economic status. The reason this hits home is because he was “one of us.”

        • Anonymous

          “The reason this hits home is because he was “one of us.””
          The new David Simon series, “Show Me a Hero,” is so applicable and timely. Especially today in DC when everyone is anti-poor, denigrating working families who rely on Section 8, “but my property values!” racially-code arguments, etc.

      • DM

        It’s a combination of things, but race and class is a huge part of what colors our reaction to this. But that’s not as incriminating as it seems. This death matters more to us (not the actual death, but the news of the death) this time it’s our community (white, successful, gentrifying) that’s been attacked.
        It’s the same logic (albeit from a different community) that spurred the riots in Ferguson: “This could’ve been any one of us.” It’s a scary reality. It recalibrates things. It puts a face on a statistic.
        This just naturally hits closer to home. We’ve all walked down that street. We’ve all thought, “If I just stay aware of my surroundings, I’ll be fine.” This punctures our pretense of security and invulnerability. That’s why we care about this.

        • Susan

          Well said!

    • Anonymous

      It is the randomness and not race. There is a big difference when you are minding your own business on a Saturday afternoon versus selling drugs on the street during a turf war.

    • Duponter

      You think that these two went to AU has little to do with their presence in DC? Um, okay. Sure thing.

    • CHGal

      The mother who was killed over Memorial Day weekend received a lot of press, and she was African American.

      • Duponter

        No. She did not.

  • Jalita

    I knew him and had class with him!!! He was working for Deloitte and he was so happy when he got his first job out of Undergrad! This country is not headed in the right direction. I would run into him on campus and he was always so cool and sweet and encouraging.

  • Duponter

    Well, I don’t disagree except to say it could also be a tragedy for the University. This is the second recent graduate they’ve lost to violence in DC in less than three months. And if AU is like many universities, they think of their students and alum as family.

    • RCS

      This is incredibly sad and frustrating. I’m so sorry to the families of the victims, our city is failing you.

    • BMouse

      These universities were here during other crime waves – their solution was to tell their students not to go into these neighborhoods. Unfortunately, there are lots of universities located in troubled cities, and it doesn’t mean the problem of crime gets solved any quicker.

      • Duponter

        Sure, but DC doesn’t exactly look like it did 20 years ago. People don’t stay west of 16th Street anymore. Telling students to not go into “these neighborhoods” is difficult when they live in those neighborhoods.

        • JohnH

          Neither of the 2 were current students, so I’m not sure what relevance it has. I’d be concerned about my kid going to a school where crime was being regularly committed on or just off-campus. American is hardly in a crime-ridden area.

          Also, there are schools in DC in much worse areas (Catholic, Gallaudet). And to go even further, there’s some pretty sketchy stuff that happens in Georgetown.

          • Wilt

            And in Foggy Bottom.

  • Shaw Resident of 15 years

    I hear a lot of people treating this event as especially bad because this man doesn’t appear to be a hoodlum.

    Is it unfair to say that “[student] at American University…on the honor roll” is code for White? Maybe this was the minimum information needed about the victim in order to get the story out ASAP.

    It’s sad enough to hear people treating this as just another in a string of violent crimes this summer in Shaw, (even as MPD officers were still taping off the streets!) But once more info came out about the victim, I wonder if the reactions didn’t say something even more disturbing: It seems we’ve lost a person of consequence, not just a local kid.

    • Kevin

      It is especially bad because he was a bystander, not a target. An innocent bystander of ANY race would be “especially bad.”

      • anon

        Yes, but also, people wouldn’t be this outraged if this were a black guy. Maybe because the typical demographic of this (and basically any) website doesn’t see themselves in the victim? Maybe because more people would shrug and assume the guy was partially responsible? Hard to say, and it doesn’t really have to be a single reason.

        • Kevin

          Bullshit. If it was a black AU (or Howard, for that matter) grad who seemed to be starting a great life, completely unconnected to gang violence who was shot down in the same way almost everyone would react with the same outrage.

          • Ed

            There was a black HU student killed in a robbery near campus. Not sure if it was covered here but it was covered extensively. I just remember the story touching me more because he was an only child.

          • Anonymous

            There was a post here on PoPville but it did not garner many comments (maybe 10 or 20?). And certainly not 80+ comments by local homeowners hyperventilating about how they don’t feel safe going to Dacha.

          • Caroline

            I read the description without seeing a picture at first and thought he was black (I guess because black men are usually the victims of violence). Seeing it was a white guy later didn’t increase my dismay or outrage.

          • Duponter

            I think comparing the coverage of this to the shooting just 14 hours earlier in Truxton Circle that killed a 27 year old should be evidence enough to show that people care more when the victim is perceived to be innocent.

            I have a feeling most people didn’t care about the 27 year old in Truxton Circle because he was black and people presumed he was not completely innocent. Because obviously if you’re perceived to be dealing or doing drugs or you’re a local to the hood, then your life is valued less than a 23 year old white AU graduate killed walking down the street.

            It’s that mentality that keeps the poor poor, segregated and lacking in any opportunity to improve their lives.

          • Zora

            “…certainly not 80+ comments by local homeowners hyperventilating about how they don’t feel safe going to Dacha.” Anonymous, if your takeaway from this tragic murder of an innocent human being is that PoPville commenters are racist, it’s time to step away from the computer and maybe spend some time reevaluating your life.

          • Susan

            Kevin, we have this amazing thing called a search box and if you look up “Tamara Gliss” on Popville,you’ll see less than 30 comments (and she was no gangster) related to her murder. There’s over 114 comments in this thread and countless other threads on Reddit. I call BS on your statement that everyone reacts with the same outrage. Think about race, class, money and tell me if this story was treated differently.

      • Tim

        Different neighborhood, but see Charnice Milton. (Bystander is the key.)

        • Anon

          Yep, and an innocent bystander was killed in Shaw on Memorial Day.

    • JCDC

      Enough with the hypocrisy. If white people were going around shooting each other in this neighborhood, black residents wouldn’t feel especially concerned, concerned perhaps, but not especially. But if those white shooters started shooting and killing innocent “by-standing” black residents, they’d be alarmed and outraged. Yes, when victims of crime look like you, you are more concerned. It is normal and not some secret race-hating ploy.

      • Alan

        That’s not true at all. If anyone is shooting anyone in a neighborhood I live in, I’d be concerned and most people of any race feel the same. What is this “not especially concerned” nonsense about? If you see a dead Black person, would you really say “oh well, I’m not especially concerned,” leap over their body and grab an expresso?

  • Lola

    Obviously the answer is more tents.

    Seriously, MPD. Get out of your cars and do some cop stuff. The criminals in this city have the you by the balls and it’s embarrassing.

  • Jack Stevens

    Let’s get back to the point, criminals are running and ruining this city because the mayor (and former council woman), chief of police, and the council decided to ignore we were 500-1000 officers short. let alone the fact cops work out of derelict condtions in buildings that would otherwise be torn down. Time for the people to stop ignoring the single biggest threat to DC being anything other than a violence prone place to live until you move out or somehow afford one of the mostly safe areas

  • A sad former citizen of DC.

    What a terrible tragedy and loss. So sad for his family and friends, and my most heartfelt thoughts and prayers to them. It is utterly unacceptable and terrifying that this happened.

  • Let’s Get Real

    Some basic facts for all the usual gather of armchair police experts:
    1. Lanier has been telling the DC Council for YEARS that MPD is understaffed because of all the retirements. The Council has failed to fund MPD with the necessary money to increase hiring. That’s a failure of Phil Mendelson, Tommy Wells, and Kenyan McDuffie.
    2. All the responses of “The city has to do something!” leave out exactly what that “something” is:
    a) Arrest people for loitering? Nope; it’s not a crime to loiter and given how pro-ACLU our Councilmembers are, that’s not going to change.
    b) Stop and frisk? Nope; our Council would scream and holler about such awfulness and would never allow it.
    c) Tougher gun laws? Nope; DC’s gun laws are already the toughest in the country and don’t work when criminals don’t care about them.
    d) Tougher sentencing? Maybe; but no one is really tracking what a defendant did and what their actual sentence was. Heck, the Public Defender director had an op-ed in today’s Post calling for easier parole terms for all those innocent defendants sitting behind bars.
    e) Better prosecutions? Maybe; but these are all handled by the US Attorney’s Office and he’s not accountable to anyone in DC, other than the US Attorney General. Is his office understaffed? Do we have enough prosecutors? Are prosecutors taking ridiculously low plea deals because they know DC juries aren’t all that good at putting bad guys away for long sentences?
    f) Enhanced criminal penalties? Maybe; DC already has additional penalties for felons in possession of a gun. Are prosecutors using that charge? Are judges/juries sentencing for that crime? No one really knows because that requires more investigative work than most of our media personalities are willing to do.
    3) Tear down the public housing? It actually does work in de-centralizing poverty and crime. But not sure you’re going to find any takers in evicting hundreds of people for indefinite amount of time in the name of maybe lowering crime.
    4) More cameras? Sure; but how many shootings, robberies, and assaults have occurred in full view of an MPD crime camera? Why care about the camera if a criminal knows he/she won’t really face much of a prosecution or sentencing?
    5) More Council hearings? Of course! What we need is empty suits sitting around blathering about the need to DO SOMETHING, without any of them having the slightest idea of what to do.

    • analyst

      “But not sure you’re going to find any takers in evicting hundreds of people for indefinite amount of time in the name of maybe lowering crime.”

      Provide a full-fare one-way ticket to any city in the country, just like New York City has in the past:


      • Accountering

        I would have no problem with this whatsoever. Certainly not kicking people out, but if they want to go somewhere else anyways, I would have no problem helping them financially to make that decision as a city.

        • Alan

          Some would say the same about gentrifiers, but it’s a useless sentiment. Let’s focus on improving the city, not convincing people to leave who are probably law abiding.

    • TOM

      +1 on the summary. Obviously something’s like stop and frisk and knocking down public housing are political non-starters.

      But, perhaps in the short term we can:
      1) look into changing the law on loitering? If an all out ban is too controversial, Perhaps give the MPD the authority to ban loitering on a temporary basis in crime prone areas?
      2) Step up police presence in an “all hands on deck” situation, while we rebuild the police force. Maybe even borrow UNARMED fire and nation guard personal to add more eyes on the ground?
      3) Put pressure on the US Attorney’s office to crack down on violent offenders. Sure we can’t directly elect them, but our DC AG and Council can hold their feet to the fire.
      4) Have MDP and US Attorney’s office strategically target know gang members.
      5) Explore stepped up “quality of life” enforcement? It’s unpopular now, but even Bill DeBlasio supports “broken windows” policing and distinguished it from “stop and frisk”.

    • what-to-do

      Let’s Get Real – so what’s the answer?

    • anon

      Here’s a thought: $1000 cash to turn in any gun that isn’t registered.

      So sorry to hear about this senseless act. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and the community being impacted by the uptick in gun violence.

      • Duponter

        You think a gang banger needs a grand for his gun so badly he’d give it up? These people make too much money selling drugs to be wooed out of their guns for a grand.

  • Kevin

    Among the downsides of more than a decade of gentrification is that lots of Guliani-loving, stop-and-frisk-supporting Republicans have moved to neighborhoods like U Street, Shaw, and Columbia Heights (I think there were finally enough white faces for them to feel comfortable).

    Sorry but there are still not enough of you for us to adopt your hateful policies.

    RIP Matt Shlonsky.

    • Jack Stevens


      While I can appreciate the frustration both as someone who has been profiled by the police, and as a person that has spent close to four decades of my life in big cities, the last decade being in DC. Until we have examples of where soft policing works (it doesn’t) we need to police in advance of the crime. Im certain that lower income people want just as aggressive policing on the “bad guys”, we all simply want the same thing, get the right person off the street. If I get stopped or pulled over, and it saves a life or two, so be it.

      How is this different than the airport security, where everyone wants community safety, and they are okay being treated as a partial suspect in order to gain that. We shouldn’t need a catastrophic event where people get behind aggressive anti crime after its too late.

      No one of any race, income level, or geographic location likes crime other than criminals. We have one protection against crime at any given moment on the municipal level and that’s the police. We can get into a million nuances, but safety, general communal public safety (life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness) is the most valuable thing we can posses as a (mostly) civilized western society.

      I pray that DC can come to grips with the politics that divide it, and help enhance (not just maintain) public safety. The hope is that ALL the (law abiding) residents can succeed in their own ways and continue to grow this city that Ive come to call home.

      • Bitter Elitist

        Stop and Frisk does not work. It has been debunked by several scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. If you’ve lived in DC for a decade, you are likely educated enough to google them.

        You think you’re ok with being pulled b/c this never happens to you. If you ended up face down on the pavement every day, you would not trust the cops enough to willingly interact with them.

        • Jack Stevens

          Every time I fly through the airport, Im a suspect, as are we all until we are xrayed, patted down, wanded, sniffed, bomb tested etc. Why should our streets be any different to give as close to zero risk of loss of life as possible?

    • Politicizing tragedy

      Kevin, political party has no place in a discussion of a tragedy or what policies might make crime go down. It’s not even relevant. Sorry about whatever life experiences have made you bitter but maybe working that out in counseling might be more effective.

      • Duponter

        Of course it is relevant. The discussion is about implementation of policies. Politicians do that. And politicians’ views on how to deal with crime differ along the political spectrum.

        Sorry for whatever gilded life you’ve led that makes you ignorant to the policies of those parties and how certain policies have disproportionately imprisoned black men and kept black people in fear for their lives for decades. Sure, there are Democrats that support stop and frisk, racial profiling, and tougher policing and Republicans who think those policies target African Americans, but come on. There’s most certainly a partisan view on these issues.

    • Thought

      Give us time, Kevin. GIve us time. By the way, I’m not a Republican. I’m a strong Democrat.

      • power of flight

        Give you time for what? You’re thinking more racist white people are going to flood the city to support anti-black police state laws AFTER two white guys got murdered?

    • sometimer

      Dear Kevin, A few years ago I moved here from NYC, my home of 30 years, because that place sucks. But DC sucks for other reasons, most notably its paralytic fears related to race. I’m glad you’re using this horrific and senseless tragedy as an opportunity to unite your fellow citizen against… about 40% of your fellow citizens. You seem like a problem solver and a consensus builder. And also a racist. RIP Matt Shlonsky. I can only hope that your death, tragic as it was, somehow leads us towards less violence, however that may be achieved.

  • Jack Stevens

    Just in case anyone was thinking its not the DC council’s fault that we are where we are…look at the link from 11 months ago.


    At least Muriel has a great picture of her rock climbing this weekend on her twitter. Come on Muriel, get mad…its okay. We ALL are!

  • Anon

    I have a thought. Maybe it is time we organize an anti-crime march. We could march in honor of all the homicide victims this year. March from Shaw to Police headquarters.

    • DC rez

      Right on, I’ve been calling for a peace march for years! Demand change, show unity and resolve in the face of senseless evil and tragic city management ineptitude. But do we think the shooters would really give a flying #%€¥ and stop their shooting? Doubt it, it’s too engrained in their violent culture to care.

      • Susan

        I don’t think the shooters will care, but maybe it would get our politicians and law enforcement to act.

    • JCDC

      I’m ready to march.

  • Reality

    We live in the nation’s capital. One of the most important cities in the world, and yet we can’t protect people from everyday violence here. I support CCTV, the route London went. If you’re not breaking the law you have nothing to worry about. If someone breaks the law and it impacts you, there’s a better chance they will be caught.

  • What i learned

    @west_egg … You asked what we learned from the Michael Brown situation? Well from the f.a.c.t.s. I learned that I should 1. Not commit robbery 2. Not assault people 3. Not walk down the middle of the street unnecessarily 4. Move out of said street when directed to by a police officer 5. Not threaten the safety of a police officer. What did you learn?

    • Tim Morgan


    • JCDC

      I already learned that.

    • Alan

      Here in America, people are innocent of crimes until proven guilty. The allegedly stolen cigarellos were never reported stolen. If Darren Wilson was assaulted, the better law enforcement option was to arrest the perpetrator instead of shooting him then refusing to administer first aid. We have this crazy thing known as a court system which we use to address crime. Officers who can only kill perpetrators are poorly trained at best, murderers at worst (although Wilson was absolved of the latter, he certainly appears to be guilty of the former).

  • anonymous

    That’s it is am DONUTS with Shaw until they get their shit together. I don’t care what trendy restaurant or Brown brother bar opens up if I can’t get there without getting shot. Fix the problem people before you start asking $15 for 4 pieces of ravioli.

  • I Dont Get It

    Unbelievably sad and tragic!

  • Anon

    Just too sad and frightening. RIP Matt, Tamara and those 91 other homicide victims of the District this year. As a 7th and O community member, and former resident of 7th Flats, all of this crime strikes so close to home. It’s frustrating as well as sad. I love how diverse the area is and those advocating for social housing to be torn down are living in another reality. I’ve not lived in a country with such a prevalence of guns before, and a good idea to me is to get guns off the streets, increase funding for community policing and ensure long term investment in public education, decent living wage jobs and social programs for young people. Unfortunately, America also seems to be so against taxes for these programs. So more families and communities are going to be tragically affected.

  • anon
    • anony

      Ok, I’ll take the bait.

      Affluent white people who read Popville are likely more struck by this because they can put themselves in this situation….going to Right Proper on a Saturday afternoon.

      In the same vein, it is harder for these affluent white people to imagine themselves strongly intertwined into a black community event such as, say, going to church on Sunday.

      Either way, it doesn’t remove anyone’s right to be mad, scared, or any other range of emotions just because they didn’t comment enough on an online forum.

      • Power of flight

        It removes their credibility in understanding crime, its significance, its history, its causes, and what to do about it.

        • anonymous

          Exactly. That’s why most of the solutions you see here is mostly about clearing a “safe” path of travel for their everyday lives- even if its moving the rift raft, loiterers to another side of the street or up a few blocks so they wouldn’t have to deal with it. Basically keep “these people” contained and all is OK.

        • anony from above

          A broad statement that is on the mark in some ways, but assumes quite a lot.

          I don’t think one has to be mugged or assaulted to understand the “significance” of criminal activity.

          The key point is its “causes,” as you say. And the difficult piece is that there is no ONE cause that makes someone a criminal, but there are volumes of datasets to draw from to form pretty strong conclusions.

          Regardless, people are allowed to be upset without being lambasted for not being enough upset beforehand. I already explained why I think this touches Popville readers more than the other shootings.

          • power of flight

            “Regardless, people are allowed to be upset without being lambasted for not being enough upset beforehand.”

            No one gets to be allowed to do or say anything with the guarantee of being protected from any type of response (including being lambasted). If their empathy only rouses when “they can put themselves in this situation” (which apparently is more narrow than just being a person going about one’s business in public) then the I and the Mayor and her constituency can feel free to disregard everything they have to say about the matter.

          • anony

            Of course you have that right, but you are communicating unequivocally that there is “right” and a “wrong” way to be frustrated/upset.

            Do you empathize the same way with people in NYC the same way as when someone is gunned down where you catch the metro every day? I don’t even really know if it is empathy, but more motivated by self-interest.

            I certainly do not agree many pieces of this “10 point plan” for the reasons the person above stated. But I also don’t agree with you proving whatever point it is you are trying to prove.

  • baz

    he used to drink at bardo.
    this is pure evil.

  • MissDaisy

    As a native Washingtonian, I have seen the peaks and valleys of crime in my hometown. I send my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Matthew Shlonsky who died in a senseless act of violence.

    Based upon the comments I have read thus far, many people posting here have lived in DC for fewer than 7 years. The outrage that they feel about the uptick in crime and the random acts of violence is a something that African-American and Latino citizens of the city have experienced for years. The reason that it resonates more now is that this outrage is something that White residents of the city have rarely, if ever, experienced. Now, crime is literally impacting the entire city.

    Until recent years, White people did not live in areas that had any significant number of African-American residents. They generally lived only in the most affluent areas – Georgetown, Burleith, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, Van-Ness, Tenleytown, Friendship Heights, Foggy Bottom, Kalorama, Palisades, Spring Valley, and Capitol Hill (SE side or up to Lincoln Park on the NE side). Adventurous younger people sometimes ventured off-the-beaten path to Adams Morgan, but no further.

    Random shootings, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, was a very typical experience for African-Americans and Latinos. When it has happened in the past, neither the police nor anyone else cared deeply about the level of crime because it was “not in my neighborhood. With the advent of rapid gentrification, formerly African-American and Latino neighborhoods have changed on the outside (shiny new buildings, condos, cafes, restaurants, bars, etc.) and many of the former residents and commercial businesses have been pushed out by unaffordable rents.

    Random acts of violence committed against brilliant, promising young people is nothing new. I think of the late Damon Ward every summer when the Washington Animal Rescue League has their shelter day events. Mr. Ward was the architect who designed the WARL shelter which is recognized nationally and often called the city’s only holistic animal shelter. The shelter has classical music piped in, bubbling fountains, floor warmers, and more. The innovative and inviting design has helped to soothe thousands of traumatized animals since its opening and increased adoptions.

    Just prior to the opening of the shelter, in the winter of 2006, Mr. Ward attended a friend’s birthday party at a U Street jazz club. Upon exiting the club, he murdered by random gun shots fired between two groups of people who were fighting over a parking space. A parking space! The world lost a brilliant, up-and-coming architect. He also happened to be African-American. The people responsible for his death have never been brought to justice. No one came forward.

  • Shaw Resident of 15 years

    Chief Lanier was out on the corner this morning huddling with some other white shirts: http://postimg.org/image/41luzmtz9/

    Then about an hour later, a truck came to remove the mobile flood light unit: http://postimg.org/image/tifujq347/

    Problem solved!


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