Thursday, July 23, 2009

In blessed memory of Anthony Reginald Ford Jr. (Yukon)

These shrine elements are for Anthony Reginald Ford Jr, nicknamed "Yukon" since childhood, who was killed in front of 75 58th St SE, Washington DC at about 1 AM, July 7th, 2009.

Police responded to reports of gunshots and found Anthony Reginald Ford Jr, 26, suffering from multiple gunshots. He had been watching fireworks with friends from the neighborhood, according to his uncle David Ford, whom he lived with. The uncle heard several quick blasts that did not sound like fireworks, and rushed to the window. Frightened neighbors yelled that his nephew had been shot, and that the killer had run off. David Ford began performing CPR. He observed that his nephew was alive when the EMS & police came. He was transferred to Prince Georges Hospital, some distance away, and pronounced dead. The security camera in the neighborhood, installed to deter crime and collect evidence, did not function the night of the murder.

His mother, Ms. Ella Carey, emailed me an invitation to photograph the memorial, which has since been removed out of respect for the property owners where David fell. We later spoke at length by phone. She related words to me that reflected her sorrowful feelings and experience:

She spoke of how when Jesus was being crucified on the cross, an equal, if not greater, agony was borne by his mother Mary, and his beloved friends and followers, who were made helpless and bereft by his pain, and their own loss.

This really struck me. Though I am of a different faith (Jewish) I have a profound respect for sincere Christian traditions and teachings.

Ms. Carey's words resonated with my understanding of the impact violence makes beyond the initial victim, and the terrible earthquakes it sets off. Her son leaves behind a six-year-old son of his own, who now needs to be guided into manhood by others in his family - his granduncle and others, along with the women in the family. From all accounts, young Mr. Anthony Ford was a decent man, minded his own business, was a positive person, an attentive and responsible parent, and gave no trouble to anyone.

Anthony Ford Jr. had his funeral on July 18, 2009. Three hundred plus mourners were in attendance at the family's church.

David Ford says there is now a hole, a silence in his house, in his life.

His mother wrote "I am crying for some help as well as justice.
... A mother that's hurting because of the lost of her innocent son. (YUKON LIVED FOR SOMETHING AND DIED FOR NOTHING)."

UPDATE: Mr Ford's shrine was renewed by his family and friends on the occasion of his birthday.

A sad birthday for the family of Kevin Darnell Allen

These two memorials are for Kevin Darnell Allen, 16, who was killed one day before his 17th birthday. Both are in the unit block of N St SW, Washington DC; one in the alley, the sneakers over a wire on the street. They are only one block from the Nationals baseball stadium. He was found lying in an alley about 12:30 pm July 9 2009, and later pronounced dead at the hospital. There was no game that day, and there are no known motives for the killing.

A few young neighbors I met were wary and a touch menacing. But, curious about what I was doing, they helped me to the location of this somewhat out-of-the-way shrine.

On July 10, DeAngelo Foote, 19, was arrested and charged with Mr. Allen's murder. Police thanked the residents of the community for swiftly and effectively partnering with the detectives in accomplishing this act of justice.

Big Tay

I found this painted memorial to "Big Tay," in the 1300 block of 1st Street SW, Washington DC.

I could find no fully concrete information in police, news, or internet files on this individual. Local residents seemed wary about talking to me about this subject- there was another murder just yards away from this site a week or so ago.

Though I am not fully certain, I think this marker is probably for Harold Crawley, who was shot to death in this block at 4:40 pm on May 18, 2007. The case has not been closed, and there is a $25,000 reward posted for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer in the unsolved homicides section of the DC Metropolitan Police website.

In 2005, Gregory Kirkland, 18, was also killed in a driveby shooting in this same block.

Another rough place to live- and die. Just a short way from the Capitol dome.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bottles and balloons for young Paul Jones

This shrine to Paul Jones, 17, is in an alley adjacent to the 600 block of Morton St NW Washington DC. It is just off Georgia Avenue, behind a row of modest shops.

A large group of tough young men, all dressed alike, were openly smoking marijauna (blunts) & playing craps- in broad daylight - in the street where I was searching. The area is a Federal housing project, and there are uniformed security personnel present.

I was looking for a possible shrine to Dewayne Coles, 20, who was killed in this block on July 4, 2009. A resident told me that there was no shrine built to him, but there was one to Mr. Jones nearby, who had been murdered a few months earlier.

From police reports on the homicide of Mr. Jones:
At 9:15 pm, on Friday, January 9, 2009, members of the department’s 3rd District and DC Fire & EMS responded to the rear of the 1300 block of Columbia Rd, NW for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, they located Paul Jones, 17, of the 600 block of Morton Street, NW, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body and head. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Also from this block -
Marcus Robinson was shot Friday May 15th 2009 in the 3000 block of 14th St NW. He had lived in the 600 block of Morton St NW.

This is a very violent neighborhood. It's the first time I felt momentarily sketchy about my own safety while working documenting street memorials... the police cruiser parked down the block was a reassurance.

One white teddybear for Taylor McFadden

This shrine to Taylor McFadden, consisting solely of a single plush toy bear nailed to a tree, and the remnants of some tea lights below, is at 4816 New Hampshire Avenue NW Washington DC. The house where the shrine is located is up for sale.

From WTOP and the Washington Post:
D.C. Police have arrested Charles Edward Jones Jr., 47, in the murder of Taylor McFadden, 25. Mr. McFadden was discovered in an apartment building in the 4800 block of New Hampshire Ave NW Saturday night July 4 2009, when police responded to the report of an assault there.
Police found McFadden had been stabbed several times. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition and died of his injuries about 10 pm that night.
An investigation led police to arrest and charge Charles Edward Jones Jr. of Northwest DC with assault with a deadly weapon.
This charge was upgraded to 2nd-degree murder while armed after McFadden's death.

Another Independence Day cebration gone miserably awry. More families plunged needlessly into shock and grief.

Needed: a prayer - and steady actions - for peace...

Malik Kareem Logan- $25,000 reward poster

These DC Metropolitan Police reward posters regarding the murder of Malik Kareem Logan are in the 800 block of 50th Place NE, Washington, DC. The neighborhood was plastered with them.
According to online reports, police arrived at this location about 9:15 p.m. Saturday July 4th, 2009, and found Malik Kareem Logan, 23, with multiple gunshot wounds. Logan, of the 4200 block of Sixth Street SE, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The reason for the shooting was unclear.

The wrong kind of fireworks for Independence Day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shrine for Demarcus Brown

This very small shrine to Demarcus Brown is in the alley behind the 200 block of Newcomb St SE, Washington, DC.

From the DC Police report:
"On Sunday, June 14, 2009, at approximately 2:14 am, officers assigned to the 7th District responded to the 200 block of Newcomb St. SE to investigate the sound of gunfire. Upon arrival, they located an adult male suffering from multiple gunshot wounds lying in the rear of the 200 block of Newcomb St. DC Fire & EMS personnel responded to the scene, but could find no life signs. The body of the victim, identified as 25-year-old Demarcus Brown of SE Washington, DC, was later transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia."

There were quite a number of police cruisers in the neighborhood the day I photographed this sad and quiet site.

Trey Joyner's Shrine- "Damn, I Miss My Dawg"

This shrine is built in memory of Trey Joyner, who was shot by Park Police officers in the 1200 block of Holbrook Street NE, Washington, DC on June 8, 2009. A small shrine on a tree is near the larger shrine erected in the alley where he died. A notice posted by DC Public Works states the memorial will be removed on July 9th.

From Washington Post reports: The civil rights division of the Justice Department will look into the actions of a law enforcement task force in the recent killing of Trey Joyner, the weapons suspect who was shot by a U.S. Park Police officer in NE Washington. Six Park Police Officers have been placed on leave after this shooting in the Trinidad neighborhood.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who met with Park Police Chief Sal Lauro on Monday, said the review will be an independent look at the controversial shooting.

The gunfire took place about 8:30 pm. June 8 in an alley near the 1200 block of Holbrook St NE, in the Trinidad area. Authorities have said that Park Police officers were part of an interagency task force that was responding to a report of a man with a gun. Plainclothes officers located Joyner, 25, and a struggle ensued when they tried to arrest him, leading to the shooting, authorities said.
The shot was fired by one of four Park Police officers on the FBI-led task force, officials said.

The shooting has angered many residents in Trinidad, a neighborhood that has been plagued by violent crime, because some witnesses said police chased Joyner and shot him in the back. Authorities have released few details, citing the continuing investigation.

They executed my son," said Walter Joyner, 56, as relatives photographed the bloodstains in the alley. "Why was the Park Police pursuing him?"

Relatives said that Trey Joyner was the second of five children and that he liked to tell jokes and was a sociable person.

Keith Jordan, 18, who was standing across the street when the shooting happened about 8:30 p.m. Monday, said that he saw the officers chase Joyner into the alley, briefly hold him and then let him go before shooting him in the back.

Of the Joyner case, Sgt. David Schlosser, a Park Police spokesman, said yesterday that four officers from the Park Police were among a group of plainclothes detectives who responded to a report of a man with a gun... "They somehow located the man with the gun. They followed him into an alley," Schlosser said. "While the arrest was being made, a struggle ensued. The suspect was shot."

Beverly Fields, spokeswoman for the D.C. medical examiner's office, said Joyner died of gunshot wounds and had injuries to the lungs, heart, liver and aorta.

A poem left at the shrine reads:
"Damn, I miss my Dawg

Many nights club hoppin...
Many nights blazin da tree...
They may have taken your body
But your memory lives on in me

R.I.P. Trey
August 1983 - June 2009"

William Lee Boney, Jr.'s shoes -1100 block of Stevens Road SE

This small shoe shrine is to William Lee Boney, Jr. It is in the 1100 block of Stevens Rd, SE, Washington, DC.

While photographing, I met members of his family at this site. It was the day of Mr. Boney's funeral. They were attending the service later that afternoon. They told me clearly and firmly that he'd been quite a good young man, and that the whole situation was very sad.

In an unusual turn of events, the young man who allegedly killed him turned himself into the police on his own.

Let us trust that justice is served, and that all the broken hearts are mended as best can be.

From DC Police reports:
Detectives assigned to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch have announced that an arrest has been made in the homicide of William Lee Boney, Jr., which occurred on the evening of Friday, June 26, 2009 in the 1100 block of Stevens Rd, SE. Early on Saturday, June 27, 2009, 23-year-old Donta Tremont Leonard of SE Washington, DC surrendered himself at the department’s Homicide Branch. He has been charged with 2nd Degree Murder in the death of William Lee Boney, Jr.
At approximately 8:30 pm on Friday, June 26, 2009, officers assigned to the 7th District responded to the 1100 block of Stevens Rd, SE, to investigate the report of an assault. Upon arrival, an adult male was found lying on the ground suffering from apparent blunt force trauma. The victim, identified as 20-year-old William Lee Boney, Jr, of the 1100 block of Stevens Road, SE, was transported to an area hospital & pronounced dead.