Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Amari Hall... in memorial

Shrine to Amari Hall, 3314 11th Place SE, Washington, DC.

This shrine is to a 7 year old girl, stabbed to death on Friday, December 26th 2008 by her 29 year old mother, Carlese Hall.

Carlese Hall, running naked in the street, flagged down a police car and told the officer that she may have killed her child and that her house was on fire. Fire and rescue units quickly put out the flames, but police said Amiri died of non-fire-related injuries. She was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital just before 10 AM.

The mother was arrested & charged with her daughter's murder. She was in the hospital suffering from a collapsed lung, but is now in prison.

A candlelight vigil, attended by over 100 people was held on what would have been Amari's 8th birthday (Mon. December 28, 2008). Ms. Hall's brother and little Amari's many friends and rrelatives expressed their deep distress and shock.

Very very sad.

The Washington Post, December 30 2008, Metro section, page B3

Street shrines to Giovanni Sanchez

There are two separate shrines, about fifty feet apart, in memory of Giovanni Sanchez, on a busy stretch of 14th Street, between Monroe & Newton St NW, Washington, DC.

Sanchez, 14, of Underwood St NW, was attacked about 4:30 PM on December 12, 2008, and stabbed to death by a group of what may have been a dozen or so young men in this bustling neighborhood. Hector Diaz-Flores, 18, and Yester Ayala, 17, of the gang MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) were charged in his killing. Mayor Fenty & Police Chief Lanier went to the shrines to announce the arrests.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Memorial Shrine for Durval V. Martins

This shrine to Durval V. Martins is in the 1100 block of 11th St NW, Washington DC (at the corner of 11th & Q St NW).

I visited this shrine first visit on December 18th, 2008. I saw and photographed new offerings on Christmas Day.

Mr. Martins, 35, was shot several times, and was found on the street by an officer at 3:00 AM on December 16th, 2008, near the grounds of a skateboard park, next to Shaw-Garnett-Patterson Middle School. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The writing on the shrine by his mother and friends is brief, but direct, touching, and emotional.

Excerpts from the Washington Blade, December 19, 2008:
"Two days after a gay man was shot to death near Logan Circle, members of the man’s family huddled together at a makeshift memorial at the murder site before making an appeal for the public to help police identify his killer.

His twin brother, Pedro Martins, said Durval Martins had been walking home from the bars on 17th Street near Dupont Circle in a break from his normal routine of taking a cab home.
“It’s been a very hard time for my family and myself,” he said Thursday at a news conference that his family called to seek out possible witnesses to the crime.

“I feel like part of my heart has died,” he said. “I have faith in the police that they’re going to find these monsters that did this.”

Pedro Martins and Durval Martin’s mother, sister, and niece, along with other relatives, wept inconsolably while standing before a gray metal light pole on which a photo of Durval Martins had been taped. Lit candles were at the base of the pole, and hand-written messages expressing love for Durval Martins were taped to the pole.

Police said an officer on patrol about a block away from the site of the shooting heard the gunshots and saw two young men running north on 11th Street. The officer rushed to the scene after calling paramedics and discovered that Martins had his wallet in his hand, as he lay unconscious on the street, according to an account by police.

Martins’ cell phone, cash, credit cards and jewelry were still in his possession, police said.

Commander Rodney Parks, who heads the police homicide squad, said investigators have no suspects and no witnesses. Parks noted that investigators have no evidence to indicate the killing was a hate crime or that Martins was targeted because of his sexual orientation.

“That fact that nothing was taken from him makes me question robbery as a motive at all,” said Chris Farris, co-chair of the local group Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence. "

UPDATE: I photographed Mr. Martins' shrine site again on Christmas Day, 2009. His family and friends have been keeping it fresh and well-tended.

Double shrines to Ronnell Short & Michael Adams

I found these dual shrines to Ronnell Short and Michael Adams in the 5100 block of Hanna Place SE, Washington, DC.

In June 2008, Ronnell D. Short, 28, and Michael Adams, 21, were found with fatal gunshot wounds in a field near Benning Park, on the grounds of an elementary school, immediately adjacent to its playground.

On December 3, 2008, Douglas D. Whitley was charged with their murder.

The two shrines are about fifty feet apart from one another.

RIP Franklin Johnson

Police crime tape at the site of the slaying of Franklin Johnson, in the 600 block of Kenyon Street NW, Washington, DC.

Allen Butler of Largo MD was charged with the murder of Franklin Johnson ( murder occurred 12/11/08) A child was shot & wounded in the house along with Mr. Johnson.

Note the election poster of President-elect Barack Obama on a wall across the vacant lot from where the police tape was located.

Police tape - Derrell "Willow" Goins

Derrell "Willow" Goins was killed in the 2200 block of Champlain St NW, Washington, DC.

This DC Police crime tape has been strewn high up in a tree on the grounds of the Marie Reed Community Learning Center, in the Adams Morgan area of DC. Mr. Goins was just 20, killed on December 10, 2008

From what I understand, his killing may have been a case of mistaken identity. By newspaper accounts, he was a well-liked, gainfully-employed young man, helpful and popular in the neighborhood.

While photographing, I ran into Nancy Shia, ANC commissioner for the area. She said the community may build a larger shrine in his memory.

Memorial to A.D.

This graffiti to "A.D." is in the 3300 block of Walters Lane, in Forestville, MD.

I could not determine who AD was- He may be Archie Davis- killed 8/28/08 in a nearby area off Central Ave in Prince Georges County, There was other graffiti in nearby areas also in his name- including on a storm drainage culvert.

There have been four other recent (mid-to late 2008) murders in this same block. It is a huge garden apartment complex. No shrines were visible.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shrine for Karon Shannon

This neon-bright shrine to Karon Shannon, is in the 1200 block of Simms Pl NE Washington DC, in the very troubled Trinidad neighborhood.

The grey mist of the rainy day made the somber contrast between the bold glowing colors of the shrine and the tragic event that it marks, unusually poignant to me. A shining melancholy heart poem; misery, prayer, memory, and grief made visible, for all passersby to see.

From the DC police website:
At approximately 7:32 pm on Sunday Oct 19, 2008 officers from the 5th District responded to the 1200 block of Simms Place, NE, to investigate the possible sounds of gunshots. Upon arrival, officers located a juvenile male suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to an area hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead at 8:23 pm.

The decedent has been identified as 17-year-old Karon Shannon of the 1300 block of Orren Street, NE.

A second victim, a 15-year-old juvenile female was also located & transported to an area hospital with an apparent gunshot wound. The identity of that victim is being withheld at this time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 18-year-old Deangelo Johnson, a District resident from NE, was arrested for the murder of Karon Shannon. He was charged with 2nd Degree Murder in the homicide of Karon Shannon.

Shrine for Drevon Proctor

This shrine to Drevon Proctor is at the corner of Chesapeake St & Southern Ave. SE, Washington DC.
This is from DC police website:
"On Saturday, August 9, 2008, at approximately 1:35 am, members of the 7th District responded to the 900 block of Southern Ave, SE for the report of a man down. Upon arrival, officers located 15-year-old Drevon Proctor, of the 1200 block of Southview Dr, in Oxon Hill, MD, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the body. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead."
According to a column in the Washington Post by Colbert King:
"...the 15-year-old DC. homicide victim [was]... under the court-ordered supervision of the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services."
Another kid, just gone...

Permanent Street Memorial, 15th & T St NE

I found this well-maintained shrine, unusual that it is formal, permanently placed and constructed of engraved stone, in a small traffic island at the intersection of 15th & T Streets NE, Washington DC. It is very near an elementary school.
It honors:
Jerome "Chip" Belle- 8/30/78 - 2/14/96 (who died on Valentine's Day, just 17 years old)
LeRon A. Perkins - 2/7/81 - 12/19/95 (14 years old)
Steven Miller - 1/2/79 - 11/30/96 (17 years old)
"Save the Children. Stop the violence."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LaDonta Longshore "Tell Juju wat up. See ya RIP"

This unusual and heartfelt memorial is erected near the spot where LaDonta, aka Donta, Longshore was murdered this week.

from the Washington Post, Metro section, p. C3, November 9, 2008:
"... DC Police said LaDonta Longshore, a 9th grader at Dunbar High School was one of the youngest people killed in the city this year... he was found about 10:30 PM Monday [11/3/08] behind his apartment building in the 1200 block of Brentwood Rd NE... He died Wed. [11-5-08] in a hospital. The shooting is under investigation. Relatives said the teenager was popular, friendly, & fond of music & electronic games... His mother, Crystal Longshore, said she had 'no understanding' of why he was shot' 'None at all.'"
He played with a basketball group with the Brookland Union Baptist Church.

The shrine was spread all along a blank wall behind the apartment, with lots of magic-marker grafitti messages added, including the cryptic "Tell Juju wat up. See ya RIP"

Evidence of the candlelight vigil mentioned in the paper was present. I briefly met one of his teen cousins at the site. I may be misreading things, but he seemed primarily interested in the fact that news of the shooting had made the papers.