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“It’s shocking that four men could plan a homicide at a busy gas station, visibly put guns into their pants, run an entire block, murder someone, and flee the scene without being caught”

“Dear PoPville,

If anyone who lives along upper 14th Street haven’t already seen this video, it’s worth taking a look.

It’s shocking that four men could plan a homicide at a busy gas station, visibly put guns into their pants, run an entire block, murder someone, and flee the scene without being caught.  We haven’t seen anything this brazen along these few blocks in years, probably since 2010.  I suspect some of your readers may think this sort of incident is common on the 3400-3600 blocks of 14th Street, but it most certainly isn’t.

This incident was a result of less aggressive policing along this stretch, the elimination of undercover vice, and, in my view, a lack of interest among our politicians in upper 14th Street.  I emailed Councilmember Nadeau about this; I explained that I believe the problem is the growing tolerance of the crack cocaine trade and a lack of pressure on MPD to have more of a presence in this area.

I told her that I believe her agenda that so often concerns national progressive issues isn’t going to help us prevent homicides.  Her office’s response to these sorts of emails has often been that the meager money she’s secured for Clean Teams and a Main Street program, or that a federal law closing the gun show loophole, will have the effect of interdicting homicides in Columbia Heights.  Invariably, her office lists her accomplishments or refers us to her newsletter.


Nadeau’s predecessor – like him or not – had outstanding constituent services.  Today, many emails to her office are obviously met with confusion and responses that read like they were drafted by legislative assistants on Capitol Hill as replies to constituent letters.  I think it’s fair to say that most of us aren’t concerned with the next election and instead want to ensure there are no more murders within feet of our homes.

To be fair, Nadeau explained what she’s doing to address the issue and she copied Captain Wright of the Fourth District.  She apologized that her hard work is not “coming across” to me.  (My sense is that’s the case because it’s been so ineffective.)  The Captain confirmed that this is in fact an issue with the crack cocaine trade and has committed to being more vigilant along the corridor.  MPD has focused on the evening hours at the Exxon but doesn’t have the presence into late night hours that he would like.

I write this today because each time I bring this up with MPD, I’m told that I need to speak with the politicians.  They point out that what they need is pressure from residents to do specific things. Most officers I speak with off the record are unhappy about being less aggressive in recent days. And we’re not having much luck changing the situation. I’m hoping more civic engagement will get the ball moving.


Matt Goldschmidt | Treasurer, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A | Single Member District (SMD) 1A04″

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