Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shrine to unidentified victim-1st & O St NW

I encountered this shrine at the corner of 1st St. and O St. NW, Washington DC

I met a rather haggard homeless man, Franklin, at the shrine. He told me it was about a week old (and it appears to be so) and that it was made in memory of a child who was killed. It appears otherwise from the writing on the tee shirt ("Hood 4 Eva" etc), but there are no liquor bottles at the site, so it is possible. The shrine backs up to a fenced public schoolyard.

I could find essentially nothing online, except that a killing occured there recently, in late July 2008- I think July 24? No name of the victim is evident at the site or on the web yet.

It is the fourth shrine I have photographed along this extended and busy stretch of 1st St. NW in the past five+ years.

A prayer, and a photographic libation to you, whoever you are.

You were somebody's child...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Shrine to unidentified recent murder victim

Yet another shrine along the DC-PG County border, on Southern Avenue.
This small and fragile memorial is in the 2000 block of Southern Ave SE, Washington DC.

Excerpted from the Washington Post and DC Police reports:
"At 2:13 a.m. Tuesday [July 29 2008], police found the body of a man on the 1900 block of Southern Avenue SE. He had been shot multiple times.

Police said they were withholding the identity of the victim until the family is located and notified."

No more information was yet available on the day I visited this shrine.

My thanks to artist Eve Hennessa, who journeyed with me on this day of searching.

Shanika Nicole & Jay Shaun Howard Shrine

Shrine in the 800 block of Southern Ave SE, Washington DC, on the Prince Georges County MD border
DC Police report:
"On Sat., Jan.28, 2006, at 7:45 pm, two pedestrians were struck by a motor vehicle in the 800 block of Southern Ave SE. The pedestrians were transported by a DC Fire and EMS to a local hospital. One of them, 25-year-old Shanika Nicole Howard, of no fixed address, was critically injured. Her son, 7-year-old Jay Shawn Howard, was pronounced dead." Shanika Howard died on 1/31/06.

The shrine displays a very poignant tribute to this young mother, written in magic marker on white fabric.

Thirteen year old victim, Alonzo Robinson- Trinidad neighborhood

Shrine to Alonzo Roberston,13 years old, in the 1500 block of Holbrook St NE Washington DC, another victim of the terrible upsurge in violence in the Trinidad section of the city. Young Alonzo was killed 7/19/08. Three others were wounded at this location according to police, including his mother, Marcella Robinson, who was shot in the arm & hospitalized. She & her son had come from Alabama to visit family. No motive or suspect is known. There is a significant reward posted by the police on his shrine.

In an effort to shut down the epidemic of violence, Police Chief Lanier ordered a blockade to be set up in the area. She had patrol cars posted at every corner, checking every person who came in and out of the area as to their reasons for entry. I briefly spoke with an officer about my project, and was politely directed around the security cordon to Alonzo Robinson's shrine. There were a number of passersby and loiterers about, but unlike other experiences I have had in the city, nobody spoke to me. Trinidad, also known as Ivy City, is bloody ground.

Shrine to Oscar Powell

This double shrine to Oscar Powell is in the 2100 block of 2nd St NW, Washington DC. His residence was given in the newspaper as 5300 N. Capital St DC. He was killed 7/22/08, found dead on the street.

I met three young girls at the site, and we spoke for a few minutes. They thought he must be from around the area, as his shrine prominently displayed his gang colors, including a red "Bloods" gang kerchief. They said many local people belong to the Bloods.

The shrine appears to have been erected by "Michelle," She must have loved Oscar very much.

Golden Shrine to "Deek"

This unusual shrine in the 5400 block of Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC, is to "Deek"- who was found dead in his building by neighbors. He was "artistic"- and also a native Trinidadian. I spoke for some time to two neighbors who knew him- neither seemed to know his full name, just what he was called on the block. The cause of his death is unknown, The shrine was built by his family.

A single rose for Keith Hines

This small shrine is for Keith Ricardo Hines, in the 900 block of Allison St NW Washington DC. He was killed 7/18/08, shot on the porch of his mother's house, where he lived. He was twenty nine. His mother, Gloria Hines, is distraught. Mr. Hines had gotten out of prison, begun a new and positive life working at the Washington DC Youth Center, and was enrolled in classes for fall at UDC. Apparently someone had an old "beef" with him. A fatal beef.

See Mark Fisher's column in the Washington Post Metro section p 1, 7/24/08

One rose.

Ghostbike DC

'Ghostbikes' are often erected by the cycling community on the site of a fatal bike accident.

This memorial to 22-year old Alice Swanson is at the corner of R St. and Connecticut Ave. NW, in Washington DC, near Dupont Circle.

She was hit by a trash truck during rush hour on July 8, 2008, and killed. By all accounts, she was an exceptional and lovely young woman.

According to the Washington Post, "The driver of the truck was identified as Marco Rosendo Flores-Fuentes, 56, of Falls Church [VA]. No charges had been filed in the incident as of last night."
For more on the sad story, and on ghostbikes, see: