Friday, April 23, 2010

Shrines for Brian Betts; beloved school principal

Brian Betts, 42, principal of Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson in Washington DC, was found shot April 15, 2010, in his home in the 9300 block of Columbia Boulevard, Silver Spring MD.
Police said Betts was found dead of "at least one" gunshot wound after co-workers, concerned over his absence, visited his house and found the door unlocked.
His vehicle was missing, as was some property in his home. The car was recovered fourteen miles away, in Southeast DC. There was no sign of forced entry, or ransacking. Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said, "It's still possible this was a random killing, but right now we don't think so."
DC Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee stated "potentially more than any other principal in this city, these children are going to be devastated because they have such an intense relationship with him," she said. "I never talked to Brian at any point where he didn't have kids with him."
Friends, relatives and colleagues of Betts's regarded his intense devotion to his students as the defining qualify of his life. “The worse the kids were, the more he wanted to teach them," a friend said.
Every morning, Betts would stand at the school hugging students as they arrived, hurrying some along, and chatting with parents.
"He was like a watchman," said Tanya Bey, mother of two students at Shaw - all of whom had Betts as their godfather. "He watched out for the children and everything that didn't look right: drugs, guns, violence."

These memorials have been left outside his home and on the front steps of the school. An official memorial service has been planned in his memory.
Betts's house has a tragic history. In 2002, Erika Smith, 9, and her father, Greg Russell, were murdered there by an intruder.

-adapted from a Washington Post article

Friday, April 9, 2010

Collective Shrine for Tavon Nelson, Brishell Jones, Devaughan Boyd, William Jones III, and Jordan Howe

From DC police reports. There has been a lot of material in the media on this mass laying, which allegedly originated over a missing bracelet.

This large shrine really got to me.

At 7:30 pm on Tuesday, March 30, 2010, officers assigned to the 7th District responded to sounds of gunfire in the unit block of Galveston Street SW, and to reports of multiple shooting victims at South Capitol and Brandywine Streets, SE, Washington, DC.

On Galveston Street SW, officers located Tavon Nelson, 17, who was transported to an area hospital and pronounced dead.
Officers who responded to S. Capitol & Brandywine Streets SE, where eight gunshot victims were located. They observed a vehicle fleeing the area and initiated pursuit with helicopter assistance into Prince George’s County, MD, and back into DC.

During the pursuit, an AK-47 style assault rifle was thrown from the vehicle, and recovered. The pursuit continued to the area of Yuma and Atlantic Streets SE, where the vehicle crashed and four suspects fled on foot. Officers pursued them, resulting in the detention of three of the four suspects. Nathaniel Dwight Simms, 26, Orlando Carter, 20, and a 14-year-old juvenile male, all of whom reside in SE DC, have been charged with First Degree Murder While Armed. The search for the 4th suspect is ongoing.

William Jones, III, 19, 16-year-old Ms. Brishell Jones, 16, and Mr. Devaughn Boyd, 18 were slain.

The surviving victims were transported to hospitals. Their identities are being withheld because they are witnesses in the case.

“This is a horrible, senseless tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and neighbors of the victims,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “We commend our first responders for their swift action that saved the lives of several victims and lead to the arrest of three of the suspects this case. Police will work around the clock to ensure this case is brought to closure.”

Related: At approximately 12:30 am March 22, 2010, Jordan Howe, 20, of the 3200 block of Buena Vista Terrace, SE. was discovered by police in the 1300 block of Alabama Ave SE, suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Nineteen-year-old Sanquan Carter of Southeast Washington was arrested in Northwest Washington March 23, 2010. He has been charged with Murder Two While Armed in the homicide of Mr. Howe. His brother, Orlando Carter has been charged in the mass shootings.

Lorenzo Steven Smith Jr RIP

From police and news reports:
March 3, 2010 2:12 am - Two men were found with gunshot wounds in the 3400 block of Dallas Drive, Temple Hills, MD. Both were taken to the hospital, where one man died.
The slain man was Lorenzo Steven Smith, Jr., 35, of the 3900 block of Dent Street, Capitol Heights, MD
A second victim, 33, was also shot and transported to a local hospital, where he is expected to survive. Both victims have extensive criminal backgrounds.

This police tape was at the edge of a bowling alley parking lot.

RIP Lee / Murda Squad

I came upon this graffiti in the 1200 block of W St NW, Washington, DC, near the BET studios. I have no information on Lee. This memorial appears older, and is very near the tags for "Murda Squad"
I was looking for a shrine to Isadoro Flores, of Arlington, who was found suffering from a gunshot wound in this block at 2:30 am 3/27/10. He was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital center. There was only an exceptionally tiny scrap of police crime tape at the end of the block that marked that anything had happened.

Gentleness now to you all, in whatever way that could possibly occur.

Memorial for Morgan Myatt - RIP

Excerpted from the Washington Post Metro section, Friday, March 26, 2010.
A woman who was fatally shot in Fairfax County on Wednesday was identified as Morgan Myatt, 23, of Holly Street NW in the Washington DC, and the man accused of killing her was identified as Antoine T. Avery, 25, of Spotsylvania, VA.
Myatt was shot as she sat in a car near Orinda Court in the Mount Vernon area about 7:25 am. The gunman fled. Later Wednesday, police in Arlington, VA, responded to a report of a man with a gun in the 1200 block of South Quincy Street. As officers arrived, Avery shot and killed himself.
Fairfax police think that Myatt and Avery had been in a relationship. Myatt's Facebook page indicates that she has a 3-year-old son.

Peace to the child, and to all.

There was no shrine at the site of the suicide, which is about a mile and a half from my own neighborhood.

Flower shrine for Christian Perez

From Police and Washington Post reports:
Christian Perez, 16, was found dead of a head wound Friday March 19, 2009 about 4 pm. in Woodlawn Park, in the Fort Belvoir-Mount Vernon area of southern Fairfax County, VA. Police believe he was beaten with an aluminum baseball bat.
Three teenagers have been arrested. Police said the homicide appeared to be the work of the MS-13 gang.
A 15-year-old boy was arrested in Woodbridge on 3/22/10. He is charged in Fairfax juvenile court with murder.
On 3/24/10, Jorge Albarenga, 19, of Southlawn Court in the Mt. Vernon area was arrested in Harrisonburg, VA. He was charged with malicious wounding by mob and gang participation.
A male, 16, was arrested in New York City. He also was charged with murder.
According to accounts offered to investigators, a large group had been fighting. Other accounts suggested that two people fought as a large group watched.
An area resident said one of her neighbors reported seeing "a group of kids standing around a body." The resident said the witness told police that as she went to the scene, two people fled.
According to another resident, a neighborhood account indicated that four people had been wounded and that a weapon was used.
In another account, the teenager called a friend by cellphone to say, "I'm getting jumped." The teenager was reportedly dead when the friend arrived.
Residents said people who claimed to have seen the teenager's body indicated that his wounds were severe. "One of my neighbors saw the body," one man said. "It was pretty beaten up."
Residents of the neighborhood, which is between Huntley Meadows Park and Route 1, expressed surprise at the reports. Over more than 30 years, while townhouses took up once-open space and the population increased, the neighborhood had remained quiet, one said.
"Other than common teenage scuffles," nothing so serious had ever happened, he said.

It is a quiet little park in a modest neighborhood.

The more I see of murder and its aftermath, the sadder it makes me, and more determined to mark the lives of the victims and especially the creations and visible healing outpourings of their families and friends.

Bloods RIP graffiti, and tape for Samuel Garvin- Suitland MD

This complex of gang memorial tags and crime tape is behind an older strip mall (near US Census Bureau)in 4600 block Suitland Rd, Suitland MD. I found this graffiti for a Bloods gang- RIP's to Jay, Lil Dre, Trey, & Messey. I could find no other info. The grafitti indicates they are the Homer Avenue Crew.
I was looking for apossible shrine or material for Mr. Samuel Garvin, and discovered this material. The yellow tape is for Mr Garvin I believe. On February 17, 2010 at 11:44 am, Prince George's County police officers responded to the 4600 block of Suitland Road for the report of a shooting. They discovered Samuel Kelly Garvin, 26, of the 3000 block of 9th Street, SE DC suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

I have no information on the others mentioned and memorialized in these other markings.

The Star of David and the swastika, and the chaos of the environment... Unusual, and to me, both sad and disquieting.

Shalom. Always - shalom.