Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Memorial for Rajeshkumar Patel / Pray of God

From DC Police reports: On Saturday, December 18, 2010, at approximately 6:40 pm, units from the Fifth District responded to the 3600 block of 12th Street NE, Washington DC, to investigate the report of a shooting. Upon their arrival, they located a victim suffering from a gunshot wound. DC Fire and EMS transported Rajeshkumar Patel, 46, of Bowie, MD, to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

I talked to several people at the Mr. Patel's shrine. He was very well-liked and respected. A few expressed that they hoped his murderer is brought to justice soon.

This shrine deeply affected me. My own grandfather, Henry Intrator, z'l, also had run a small store in New York, and like Mr. Patel, was a well-regarded, friendly, hard-working family man.

Adapted from from the Washington Post
Mr. Patel, 46, did not get home Saturday night. Two men in ski masks robbed his shop, the Newton Foodmart in Brookland, just after 6:30 p.m. and shot him in the chest. The gunmen stole cash and fled before police officers arrived.

Mournful neighbors and fellow shopkeepers gathered
outside the closed store. A man who identified himself as M. Patel's nephew said that Patel had been in the back of the store when the robbers arrived and accosted his wife and son, ordering them down on the floor. One of the thieves shot Patel as he emerged from a storage room, the nephew said. "My uncle had no idea the robbery was happening," said the nephew, who declined to identify himself for fear of retribution. "He walked out, and the guy fired at him and ran off."

D.C. police are offering up to $25,000 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest. They were looking for two suspects; one wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with a black patch on the hat and another who wore a black hooded sweatshirt. Both men were armed with silver handguns.

The DC tipline phone number is: 1-888-919-2746

Pray of God.

James Campbell's memorial on Southern Avenue SE

This shrine was created on the front stoop of 2924 Southern Avenue SE, Washington DC.

From DC police reports: On Sunday, December 12, 2010, at approximately 7:50 pm, units from the Seventh District responded to the 2900 block of Southern Avenue SE, for the report of a shooting. Upon their arrival, they located the victim James Campbell, 25, of Bladensburg, MD, in front of the location suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. DC Fire and EMS transported him to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

There were several middle school aged girls waiting for the bus at a stop in front of this dwelling. I gently explained what I was doing, and they quietly observed as I documented the site.

Resting place, and hopefully, now, some relief from the hard burdens of life.

Scott Staten / Spongebob and candles in the alley

From DC police reports: On December 8, 2010, at approximately 8:30 am units from the First District responded to the 1300 block of Half Street SW, Washington DC, to investigate the call for a man down. Upon arrival they discovered a male victim, Scott Staten, 17, of Southeast, suffering from gunshot wounds. DC Fire and EMS responded and did not find any signs of life. The victim was subsequently pronounced dead on the scene/

I have documented several shrines in nearby alleys over the years. It is just a couple of blocks from the new Nationals baseball stadium. The young man I mentored, Dion Johnson, lived for some time in this neighborhood in the 1990's.

To young Mr. Staten's family; a prayer for peace.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

For Prince Okurie / Delafield Place NW

From police and press reports: On Tuesday, November 30, 2010, at approximately 4:20 pm, units from the Fourth District responded to the 800 block of Delafield Place NW, Washington DC, to investigate the sounds of gunshots. Upon their arrival they located a victim, Prince Okorie, 16, suffering from gunshot wounds to his head and not breathing. He was transported the victim to a local area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A witness told police that three young males fled the scene on foot, but it was not clear whether they were involved with the shooting. It was not immediately known what led to the murder.

For Ebony Franklin / Fairmont Street NW

From news and press reports: On Monday, November 29, 2010, shortly after 1:00 pm, units from the Third District were dispatched to the rear of the 1000 block of Fairmont Street NW, Washington DC, to investigate the report of an unconscious female. Upon arrival, the units discovered the unconscious female in the alley. DC Fire and EMS determined that death was apparent. The victim, Ebony Franklin, 17, of Capitol Heights MD, was pronounced dead on the scene and transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who ruled the manner of death a homicide.

D.C. police have stated the girl whose body was found stuffed in a trash can on Monday was stabbed to death. The girl's mother said Ebony disappeared Friday night while in transit from her home in Capitol Heights to her father's home in D.C. The mother said Ebony had attended Northwestern High School in Hyattsville but recently transferred to Cardozo High School after she moved in with her father. Police have reported on community listservs that she was not a Cardozo student.

Very sad situation. I hope her family finds peace, and justice is served on whoever took this young woman's life.

I revisited this site on January 14, 2011. There was some evidence that a shrine had been built; I photographed the few remnants of it. A description of the memorial to Ms. Franklin was published in Sojourners magazine, along with a moving and thoughtful reflection.

Ali Ahmed Mohammed: Shrine remnants at DC9

From police reports: Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch announced today that five people have been arrested in connection with a death that occurred earlier this morning at the DC9 nightclub, 1940 9th St. NW, Washington DC..

On Friday, October 15, 2010, at approximately 2:35 am members of the Third District were dispatched for an assault in the 2000 block of 9th Street NW. Upon their arrival, they discovered a male victim on the ground. Personnel from DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded and transported the victim to Howard University Hospital where life saving efforts were unsuccessful. The victim was pronounced dead at approximately 3:15 am. The decedent’s remains were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The victim has been identified as Ali Ahmed Mohammed, 27 of Silver Spring, Md.

Investigation revealed that the decedent had been involved in a confrontation with employees of DC9 that lead to a struggle that rendered the decedent unconscious and unresponsive.

The suspects were placed under arrest and have been transported to the Homicide Branch.
The defendants are identified as 20-year-old Darryl Carter, Jr. of Northeast, DC; 22-year-old Reginald Phillips of Northwest, DC; 28-year-old Evan Preller of Northwest, DC, 46-year-old William Spieler of Northwest, DC; and 25-year-old Arthur Zaloca of Silver Spring, Md. All five defendants were booked on Murder Two charges.

So far as I understand, they were released without charges, and the autopsy results are still pending. The nightclub is scheduled to re-open in mid December, after being ordered closed by Chief Lanier.

I only found these small remnants of burned candle wax at the site. Though I looked for a shrine at the time, it was not up the day I scouted. I suspect the nightclub owners had it removed quickly. Melanie Moore, a GWU anthropology student, alerted me to a photo of the shrine on the excellent Prince of Petworth blog. A photo and much fuller story can be seen there.


Shrine in the 1400 block of U Street NW

I am not certain who this small shrine commemorates in the 1400 block of U Street NW, Washington DC, but I believe it is for Jamal Coates. There was quite a bit of press about this situation at the time.

In any case; Memory and peace to all.

From police reports:
On Tuesday, September 28, 2010, shortly after 12:00 pm, a shooting occurred in the 1900 block of 13th Street NW Washington DC. The investigation revealed that the vehicle that was fired upon fled the scene of the shooting and entered the 1100 block of U Street, NW, where it was involved in a collision with two other vehicles and overturned. Two occupants of the overturned vehicle were struck by gunfire. DC Fire and EMS personnel responded to the scene. The surviving victim was transported to an area hospital. The second victim, Jamal Coates, 21, of the 1400 block of Spring Road, NW, did not show any signs consistent with life and was pronounced dead on the scene by the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kevin Willis RIP

From DC police reports: On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at approximately 3:30 am, units from the Fifth District responded to the Unit block of N Street NW, Washington DC, for the report of a stabbing. Upon their arrival they located a victim, Kevin Willis, 19, of NE Washington, suffering from stab wounds. The investigation revealed that the stabbing occurred in the Unit block of Hanover Place, NW. The victim was transported to a local area hospital where he was admitted. On November 22, 2010, Mr. Wilis succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.

I found this police tape both in an alley behind Hanover Place, and on a guardrail on busy North Capitol Street a few paces away. The Capitol dome was dimly visible in the mist a mile or so in the distance if you walked a few feet from the railing.

All kinds of monuments in this city...