81°Mostly Cloudy

Pepper Sprayed and Robbed, 3pm Sunday at 3rd and P Street, NW

by Prince Of Petworth June 20, 2016 at 10:50 am 60 Comments

pain two

From MPD:

“On Sunday, June 19, 2016, at approximately 3:00 p.m., a victim was robbed in the area of 1500 Block 3rd Street N.W.”

From a resident:

“To the jogger who was maced and robbed yesterday while on a run on 3rd Street, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had the dumb luck of being the target of some predator lying in wait. I’m sorry our neighbors who saw the whole incident, who possibly could have even intervened, sat there and laughed, and then scattered the moment the police showed up.

This neighborhood is not indifferent to you. There are people who care – we have given the police our security camera footage of the incident, for what good it may do. As you were in the ambulance, neighbors waited in line to talk to the police to give their accounts of what happened. I hope you find some solace in knowing that most of us find these occurrences outrageous, and we won’t stand for this as the status quo anymore. Again, I’m sorry this happened to you, and I hope you’re doing okay today.”

From the victim:

Ed. Note: He didn’t wish to be quoted directly but he wanted people to know that he was pepper sprayed in the face at 3rd and P St, NW at 3pm. He was simply walking home from the gym and was tapped on the shoulder and then sprayed directly in the face.

  • joseph

    ‘I’m sorry our neighbors who saw the whole incident, who possibly could have even intervened, sat there and laughed, and then scattered the moment the police showed up.’

    ^ ugh, people suck.

    • yeah

      I wonder if it was evil gentrifiers who were sitting and laughing.

      • Anon

        You can’t possibly be serious!?!?!!? I live in that neighborhood (pretty much right on P and 3rd), and I think I can take a reasonable guess at who the neighbors are who laughed. They’re not gentrifiers, I can assure you, for whatever that’s worth. Not much in my estimation since laughing in the face of a physical attack is shitty regardless of who you are or when you moved into a neighborhood.

        • Anony

          I am pretty sure they are being sarcastic. Yep, shitty shitty people to do that…

      • anon

        I suspect Yeah was being sarcastic.

      • ParkViewneighbor

        Agreed but i’m sure there is a way to pin this down on gentrifiers destroying the friendly communities when moving in

        • annonny

          “Friendly communities” = laughing at people not like you who just want a nice place to live but get attacked at least in part because of your depraved indifference? Yea, I guess that’s what it means.

  • Anon

    This is really pathetic, cowardly behavior. I’m sure the perps will live a good, productive life.

  • Frustrated

    “Neighbors…sat there and laughed”. As if the prevalence of people who commit acts of violence is not enough, the total lack of empathy of some in this city is beyond troubling. How is that ever going to change? My sympathies to the victim.

    • anon

      Seriously, if you are asking how it will ever change – it will only change when we are able to see ourselves as one community, not as divided ones. There are obvious changes that might happen in society to make this possible. But I’m not holding my breath. (Not that I condone such behavior – far from it – was just addressing the question about how we might change that.)

    • Tsar of Truxton

      It wouldn’t surprise me if this was some sort of crew initiation that was done to entertain those who were laughing. Pure speculation on my part.

    • On Capital Heels

      The lack of empathy in this city isn’t different than the lack of empathy in this country. When will it change, you ask? Well, I’d say it’ll change when the Judge Perskys of the world have empathy toward sexual assault victims; when the George Zimmermans of the world have empathy toward their own neighbors’ children; when the Donald Trumps of the world have empathy toward people of different religions and ethnicities, and so on. Gentrification (which is a word I despise, btw) is not the answer to the empathy gap. Love is.

  • TCircler

    This is so shitty. That intersection at 3rd and P (which is Truxton Circle and not really remotely Bloomingdale) is really really awful. I had just walked through there not too much later than that. There are always people hanging out in front of that store, openly smoking weed, and in my brief two years of living in Truxton I don’t know how many muggings have happened near that intersection.

    Much like the other end of Truxton near Hanover and North Capitol, this is a notorious open air drug market and for whatever reason the police do nothing about it. I am unsure how much more gentrified that neighborhood needs to become before they are willing to actually do something about it.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      See 7th and T. Give it a few more 1.5-2.0 mil places, and some fancy restaurants. They will care then.

    • Shawz

      No amount of surrounding gentrification is going to matter when the area you’re describing is literally a giant low-income housing project. People who spend small fortunes buying into that neighborhood hopefully know what they’re getting into. And fwiw – I live a couple blocks away…

      • Anonymous

        +1 to everything you said.
        DC will need to level a lot of problematic buildings and destroy a lot of badly needed housing units for that area to truly be low crime. There are better places to spend small fortunes.

        • TCircler

          I question how badly “needed” public housing is or why we should be investing in it if it is just the origin or crime. Perhaps that isn’t a model that makes sense.

          That said, this happened at 3rd and P, which while close to the cooperative I assume is being alluded to here, is still two block south of that. And I am not sure the riff raff that hangs out at 3rd and Q originates exclusively from that cooperative. There seem to be a few folks that live on the 1400 block of 3rd that contribute to the loitering.

          • c

            it’s not “just the origin of crime”
            jesus. it’s a place for people to live also. to help people stay off the streets.

            It’s fantastic that you’ve been lucky enough not to have a knowledge about it, but it’s saved the lives of many.

          • TCircler

            My point is perhaps it isn’t the right solution to that issue. Perhaps aggregating poverty exacerbates many of the problems that leads to poverty. Like crime.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        The housing project is on 3rd and Q. I know that is only a block from here, but I always thought the dudes at the corner store came from one of the houses on third between O and P. That is where you see the cars drive-up and stop to “chat” with people outside (I have seen this done with a cop car sitting at the end of 3rd (at O) looking down towards P and nothing was done). I am sure it is some of both, but if that store goes away, that will change that corner a bit.

      • 7thStTechGuy

        YUP, very well said.

  • DCDuchess

    Serious question, many people who move into the city and purchase homes do not know where the drug markets or public housing areas are. Other than driving around and looking at the local crime maps, what can you do?

    I lived in Alexandria all my life and had no clue about where DC public housing was until we moved into the city. The public housing in Alexandria, near Old Town is positively gentrified compared to Sursum Corda.

    • Anon

      I asked a friend who taught in DCPS to ask his students about what they thought about particular corners/areas when shopping a few years back. This provided invaluable insight in terms of micro trends that wouldn’t be apparent to someone merely passing through.

      • Sydney

        Well? Bring it!

    • Maps available

      You need to know the area to know about drug activity, but section 8 housing is public info and there are maps readily available on the internet, for example (select the map option):


      • Anonymous

        Yeah, take a look at Columbia Heights on that map. You’ll quickly see why 14th between Clifton and Park Road is always such a hotbed of crime, harassment, and generally unsocial behavior.

    • facts

      If you’re contemplating buying a house in an area like this, you should go there on Friday night and walk around the block a couple times. You will gain valuable insights into what you’ll be dealing with that you might not see on a Sunday afternoon.

      • U neighbor

        +1000 and preferably on a season when it’s not to cold out. Changed our mind on several near-offers, and steered clear of a few entire neighborhoods (notably the one in this post) after doing this.

      • TCircler

        Sure, this is helpful when purchasing a home right there. I know now I would never wnat to buy on the 1400 or 1500 block of 3rd. But that isn’t helpful when you still generally need to walk through there to get to where you did buy a few blocks away.

        It’s all well and good, but honestly when a location is this notorious, there really isn’t an excuse for not having a larger police presence nearby on a regular basis. Although, fwiw, I have seen more cops in my two years there sitting at the O and 3rd intersection presumably waiting for trouble. Clearly not enough to dissuade someone from pepper spraying someone at 3pm.

      • 7thStTechGuy

        Nothing makes me laugh more around real estate purchases than people who have no idea about the neighborhood they are buying into. My first question is, “have you spent any time in the neighborhood?”- overwhelmingly the answer is no.

        • Anonymous

          Welcome to Trinidad!

        • Truxtoner

          I don’t disagree, although sometimes the subtle nuances of which intersections to avoid take time to figure out. I lived in Truxton a month or so before I realized how bad 3rd and P can get. But I was pretty aware of the Hanover and general North Capitol unsavoriness.

      • Sleepless in Shawattle

        Again, victims wife here, we literally did what you said prior to buying (we aren’t complete fools ya know…) And we did not feel in danger AT ALL. for the 2+ years we have lived here we have been very lucky and felt safe. Even the police officers at the scene who work in the 5th district said that aside from the neighborhood kids who are just a pain in the ass it’s a really good place to live in the 5th.

        • fka Shawess

          I think the posters above are being particularly ungenerous to you. For all of the talk here about how expensive DC is and how difficult it is to buy a place here unless you have a huge down payment, you would think that people would be a bit more understanding about the decision to live on a block that is right near so many other gentrified and rapidly gentrifying blocks. I used to live very closeby and made almost an identical calculation as you and your husband. It’s horrifying to be the victim of violence even if you know very well that the neighborhood you’re in isn’t perfectly safe. That doesn’t make you ignorant. It means that you made the best decision you could under some challenging circumstances. And it sucks that it turned out this way, I’m sorry it did.

    • stacksp

      Honestly, YouTube now. “Hoods of DC” and all the related links will identify some of the historically active neighborhoods.

  • DCDuchess

    I just answered my own question… here is the link to all DC public housing: http://www.dchousing.org/topic.aspx?topid=3

    I did not look at this while searching for a home, maybe I should have.

    • Anon

      This only tells you which public housing buildings are owned by the housing authority. You could be buying a house next door to a voucher holder and never know it.

    • Anon

      This may be a comprehensive list of DC-owned public housing, but there are many more privately owned “public” housing projects in the city (subsidized/Section 8 housing). Just a heads up.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, this. It’s not just about public housing – you also need to consider privately owned buildings that have long-dated contracts with the city to provide housing. Also, Truxton/Shaw/Mt Vernon has the highest concentration of halfway houses, “homeless services facilities,” and other types of outpatient facilities in the city. I highly recommend the DC GIS map service to see where this stuff is located.

    • E

      Be careful lumping all these housing types together. Because of the years-long waitlists and priority for elderly and the disabled, many of the Housing Authority-owned projects are basically senior centers. All the crime hotspots in my neighborhood are Section 8 — none of the Housing Authority buildings cause any problems at all…

  • CatieCat

    Well this sucks. My pup and I walk by here once or twice a day. I may be naive AF, but I honestly also feel safe in Truxton. My instinct (backed up by zero evidence) is that the crime like this ISNT done by people who live here, are rather passing through or loitering. My neighbors are all super nice, friendly people. Im obviously not a fan of these open air drug markets (as people here call them) but also have never personally had a problem with the participants.

    • anon

      I’ve lived in the area for 4 years with 1 minor crime & a couple packages stolen. I’ve come home at all times of the day and night without incident. The guys hanging out might try to holler but that’s as bad as I’ve seen. Most just say hi. While smoking weed in public is illegal, that alone wouldn’t mark this as an open air drug market to me.
      Maybe I’ve just been extremely lucky in my interactions, but I wouldn’t put 3/p on par with Hanover & north cap.

      • TCircler

        I definitely do not disagree that that 3/P is not on par with Hanover and N. Cap, but I think the frequency with which you see cars pull up for short periods of time and idle with people on the corner “chatting” through the car windows leads me to believe there’s plenty of drug transactions taking place there. I don’t have a problem with it really, except that corner also seems to be where a lot of high schoolers congregate after school as well. It’s just a bad mix.

    • ANC

      I think you’re right about the crime not being done by locals – why would they risk being identified so close to home? And this car had MD plates, giving credence to your theory.

      • Truxtoner

        I assure you the MD plates do not mean the person doesn’t live in the area. There are several unzoned streets in Truxton and most of the cars parked there are residents of the neighborhood and I am often surprised by how many do not have DC plates.

    • sp

      i also live around here (i was the woman robbed with her toddler a few weeks ago), and while i agree that a lot of the crime seems to come from outsiders (my robber appears to live elsewhere), the open air drug markets bring so many ill-intentioned people to the area every single day. Since the incident, many neighbors have been sharing their stories with me, and I’m stunned by the percentage of people who have had something — burglary, attempted robbery — happen to them. It’s a lot.
      According to our ANC commish, the MPD has sent a Segway cop to patrol the area. Hope more initiatives are coming…

      • ANC

        Whew! A Segway cop! Well, I feel better!

        • Truxtoner

          Probably more effective than the ones that just sit idling in their vehicles a block away.

      • annonny

        Blartt to the rescue!!!

  • northeazy

    DC needs to ban pepper spray so this doesn’t happen again. Maybe only police should carry this type of stuff. it is pretty dangerous.

    • 18th Street

      While they’re at it, DC should also ban mugging

  • sleepless in shawattle

    This is the victims wife. It happened two doors away from our house. There were some concerned neighbors who were calling the cops (THANK YOU!!!!) but in front of the market there are ALWAYS a group of guys, they are never rude or threatening when I walk by on a daily basis, but they definitely could have helped and most just stood around until the police showed up. One guy stayed with us til the cops showed up. The perp didn’t live in the projects near by because he jumped in to an idling car on the corner of 3rd and P. So all this discussion on the projects nearby is kind of moot.

    • anon

      eh, i tracked my phone after I was mugged recently, and the robber made a stop at those projects right after getting my cash, before making his way home. and I overheard the detectives mention that they are often seizing guns there. So I think there is often some sort of connection…

    • On Capital Heels

      Oh, those darn pesky facts — mooting all the conjecture, speculation, and stereotyping!

      • Truxton

        Based on the crime reports in the 3rd and P vicinity, while it might be speculation, it isn’t speculation lacking a factual foundation.

        I’m also not sure how jumping into an idling care means the person has no connection to anything nearby. Why that block otherwise? It isn’t exactly a thoroughfare.

  • Truxton Circle Resident

    I live right near 3rd and P street and I am frequently walking my dog around the neighborhood or going into that corner store or running near there. I have lived here for just over two years and have never had ANY issues at all. I know the people you are referring to that hang out near the corner store and I talk to them most days. I’m so sorry that this happened, but I’m also really surprised.

    • Truxtoner

      I’m surprised you are surprised unless you do not track police reporting like MPD alerts because I have lived in Truxton for the same period of time and 3rd and P is frequently the location of muggings and other incidents. I know there have in the last year been at least two people robbed while biking through believe it or not. And there have been several vehicle break-ins along O Street between 1st and 3rd by the high school this year. And then of course the woman who commented above who was robbed while unloading groceries.

      What is surprising to me is how frequently these incidents happen in broad daylight. I can understand maybe not being terribly surprised by someone getting mugged on P street at night because it is pretty quiet and dark, but I’m taken aback by how frequently these things are happening during the middle of the day.

      • Truxton Circle Resident

        Sorry, to clarify – I’m surprised that people stood by and did nothing. Not about the crime (I’m not that naive). That group of guys are always super lovely to me.

  • Dan

    I recently emailed Mayor Bowser and D.C. Council Judiciary Chairman McDuffie regarding crime and shootings in the District. I didn’t receive any response from either. Bowser have a Deputy Mayor Donahue for Public Safety and a City Administrator she brought in from Alexandria, Virginia earing 6 figures. I am still trying to figure out what their responsibilities are.

  • k8

    I lived at New Jersey and Q (just a few of blocks away) for a couple of years and usually felt pretty safe west of 4th (although I’m super cautious). It doesn’t surprise me at all that this happened on 3rd and P–that area in east of 4th street always felt really dodgy to me. While DC is gentrifying, there are definitely pockets of crime here and there and this is a very good example of that. I hope the victim is recovering swiftly from this trauma.


Subscribe to our mailing list