Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shrine in honor of Joshua Hopkins

From DC Police reports:
On Saturday, July 3, 2010, at approximately 12:10 AM, officers from the Sixth District were dispatched to the 6100 block of Banks Place, NE, Washington DC, for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, they located the victim lying on the ground suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim, Joshua Hopkins, 19, was transported to an area hospital, where succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, July 4, 2010, at approximately 1:16 am.
On Friday, July 9, 2010, at 6:00 pm, members of the Homicide Branch and the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Antoine Sadique Taylor, 29, of Fort Washington, Maryland, in the 4600 block of Minnesota Avenue, NE, pursuant to a DC Superior Court arrest warrant charging him with First Degree Murder while Armed.

Excepted from NBC-TV News:

A vigil was held Tuesday night at the spot where he was killed in memory of Joshua Hopkins, who friends say was a role model to the community.

The shooting happened at the Watkins Branch Recreation Center in northeast Washington. Hopkins, who was home on summer break from Fairmont State University, was playing basketball with some friends at the park.

Circumstances around the shooting are not fully clear, but friends and family say that Hopkins liked to joke around and that he may have said something that offended the suspect.

“He was doing very well in school, had overcome a lot of challenges to graduate from high school, enroll in college, intern on Capitol Hill,” Hopkins’ cousin, Lester Davis. “This was a young man who was an example to other young men and women in his neighborhood.”

Hopkins had interned with Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), who called his death a "horrible tragedy, senseless as such violence will always be."

“Over the course of my time in Congress numerous interns have served admirably in my office, but none has stood out quite like Joshua Hopkins," Fattah said in a statement. "Josh was a responsible and eager young man always willing to assist the staff wherever and whenever possible. He was studious, purposeful and determined to do the hard work necessary to succeed in life. Josh was well on his way to fulfilling his dream of a college education. Unfortunately, his life was cut short much too soon by the violence that robs so many young people of their full potential."

Hopkins had overcome a lot. His mother was murdered when he was 5 months old. His mother’s sister raised him. But he thrived and was well respected. Memorials quickly sprung up at the park.
“The individual that did this, they didn’t just take a nameless, faceless individual,” Davis said. “They took someone from his family, from the community.”

And at the same time, there are still many unanswered questions.

“Why? Just for talking? You can’t even stand there and kid with people anymore?” said Artelious Hopkins, the woman who raised Joshua. “Where’s this society going? What are we accomplishing? Nothing. We’re not accomplishing one thing by killing each other.”

"Good Pictures" of Cornell Yates' memorial - to Dream.

On Friday, June 18, 2010, at approximately 10:20 PM, officers of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Seventh District were dispatched to the 800 block of Yuma Street SE, Washington DC, to investigate the report of a shooting. Officers found three people suffering from gunshot wounds. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel transported the victims to area hospitals.
Subsequently, one of the shooting victims, Cornell K. Yates, 36, of Clinton, Maryland, succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. The other two victims’ wounds are not life threatening and their identities are not being released because they are witnesses.

I have photographed several shrines with a few block radius of this site, in the Condon Terrace neighborhood of Southeast DC. It can be a tough place to live; tougher place to die.

Two passersby told me "take good pictures man, good pictures. He was a good dude."


Shrine to an unknown young woman - 3000 block 11th Street NW

I was searching for a possible shrine to a murder victim, Jonathan Sanchez Estep, which occurred recently in this block. A friend of the deceased who was passing by, also saw this small shrine, but the bear and photo on a bus stop pole, were clearly not for Mr. Estep.

On-line searches gave me no more information about whom this small tender shrine honors.

I found the nearby graffiti tag haunting, troubling, and a mystery.

The friend, Antoine, told me "I hope someday you won't be reading about me this way."
The fact that a bright young African-American man has to have this possibility in his consciousness speaks volumes- and should prod us all to do our part to increase peace.

From DC Police reports:
On Saturday, July 10, 2010, at approximately 8:31 PM, police officers were dispatched to 11th Street and Columbia Road, Washington DC, for the report of a shooting. They located the victim in the 3000 block of 11th Street, NW, suffering from gunshot wounds. Jonathan Sanchez Estep, 24, of Northeast DC, later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
A second victim was also shot during the incident. He was transported to an area hospital and released.

To all, and this unknown young woman, and your families - peace and strength to you and yours.

John Hamer Pernell- marked location

from DC Police reports:
On Saturday, July 3, 2010 at approximately 4:20 PM, units from the Sixth District responded to the 3000 block of Nelson Place SE, Washington, DC, to investigate the report of a shooting. Upon arriving on the scene officers found the victim suffering from gunshot wounds. The victim, John Hamer Pernell, 66, was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

I found nothing else at the site besides police crime scene tape marking the tragedy of his last moments.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Teddy Bear Prayers for Yiana-Michelle Ballard

This tender shrine to Yiana-Michelle Ballard, 6, is at the entrance to the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center NE.

From DC police reports:
At approximately 2:19 pm on Wednesday, June 23, 2010, Fifth District Officers and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Personnel responded to the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center at 1100 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington DC, for the report of an unconscious child in the deep end of a pool.
The child was transported to an area hospital where she was admitted in critical condition. She was subsequently pronounced dead.
The child in this case has been identified as Yiana-Michelle Ballard, 6, of NE Washington, DC.

From news reports:
Police said Thursday that their special-victims unit was still investigating the circumstances of the death. Autopsy results were pending.

“This should have never happened,” said D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), who chairs the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation. Thomas plans to hold hearings next week to examine whether the city’s pools are safe. Some parents of children who frequent the center’s camps and other programs said the incident was troubling, especially because at least one lifeguard was there at the time.

Friends and neighbors said Yiana-Michelle was “loving” and a “little angel” who was the youngest of six and about to start first grade.

“She was loved by many people,” said family friend Arnisha Caldwell.

Wings and prayers for this young angel.

Memorial to Ming-Kun Chih and Li-Jen Chih

This shrine to father and son, Ming-Kun Chih and Li-Jen Chih, was erected in front of their now-shuttered store in the busy food and souvenir wholesaling district between New York and Florida Avenues NE. Numerous people commented to me what fine nd well-loved people they had been, and how sad that they had died because a desperate person wanted their earnings - and took their lives also. It is a busy and diverse area, with many small family businesses, and the loss has affected the community greatly.

From DC police reports:
On Wednesday, June 23, 2010, at approximately 3:05 pm, Fifth District Officers responded to the 1200 Block of 5th Street, NE, to investigate the report of a shooting. When police arrived, they found two victims suffering from gunshot wounds. One victim died at the scene. The other victim was transported to an area hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
The apparent motive in this case is robbery of the establishment.
The victim who died at the scene was Li-Jen Chih, 32, of NW Washington, DC. The victim who died at the hospital was Ming-Kun Chih, 59, of Silver Spring, Md.
The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Christian Taylor, 25, of SW DC, charging him with two counts of First Degree Felony Murder While Armed in connection with the shooting deaths of the Chih's.