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.