Thursday, May 8, 2008
I learned of this shrine to Michael R. Dempsey, located in the 800 block of Decatur St NE Washington DC, from Cosby Hunt, a teacher at DC's School Without Walls. I spoke to his class about the shrines and a lively, thoughtful discussion followed.
Mr. Hunt said this shrine was around the corner from where he lives, in a neighborhood that looks to be pretty nice generally. The shrine was alongside the Faith Friendship Church. It was the first memorial I'd seen by a church in some time. I could find no further information on the demise of young Mr. Dempsey, other than what was posted on his photo at the site. He was born July 16 1987, and died Dec. 22, 2007. Just twenty years old...
No liquor bottles...
UPDATE, December 2008:
I received a call from Michael Dempsey's older brother, a successful electrician, who wished to tell me of his brother's life, and to help leave a legacy of some kind. He told me Michael had been in a telecom apprenticeship program at the time of his death, and "was on the road to doing something with himself." He had attended Roosevelt High School, and had grown up in the neighborhood where the shrine was located. He was gunned down on 8th St NW. Mr. Dempsey's body was found in his car. He had never been in trouble, wasn't a gambler, and no one can figure out what made him a target for homicide. His brother told me that he had to identify the body; a very difficult thing to do. His killer has not yet been found. There were some leads, but as of yet there has been no conviction, no closure.
His family and friends erected the shrine as a matter of respect. It has been a very hard time for his parents, especially this past Christmas, which is near the anniversary of his death.
Posted by Lloyd at 9:16 AM