$25,000 Reward for Tips on Water St. Shootings

The perpetrators of the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old from Severn, Maryland, and the shooting of another unidentified man around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, July 8, on Water Street in Georgetown remain unidentified, at least publicly. This despite the announcement of a $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the shooter or shooters and any accomplices.

The incidents took place near the remains of the old Aqueduct Bridge by the Key Bridge underpass.

The community has been shaken up by the shootings, according to Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Lisa Palmer, who lives in the area with her young family. “Several actions by city and law enforcement agencies are now underway to help the neighborhood feel safer,” she said.

Those actions include an increased police presence in the area, especially at night, as well as the installation, for at least the next week, of a bright police light on a pole by the underpass.

“On Sunday evening when I walked through the waterfront park I saw two officers walking the park and two others at the end on Water Street,” Palmer recounted. “I also saw a National Park [Service] police vehicle. Officers informed me that they had been instructed to patrol the area throughout the night and keep their car lights on.”

Palmer also took a long walk in the area with a representative from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office on Sunday morning, July 9, to view “the ongoing general lack of order west of Wisconsin Avenue on Water Street. I’ve been pressing a number of city agencies to move a variety of options forward to make this area more safe over the past few months,” Palmer wrote in an email. “While it is extremely unfortunate that it takes a situation like this to push a conversation forward, perhaps this will be a tipping point for making changes.”

Among the safety issues that Palmer pointed out during her walk with the city official were broken beer bottles and other trash all over the roadway and leading up to the aqueduct abutment; graffiti near Key Bridge and the adjacent boathouse; a lack of lights and cameras in the area; and a lack of striping on the roadway and walkways, particularly west of 34th Street, leading to an unsafe free-for-all of cars, bikes and pedestrians.

Also discussed was the constant revving of engines in the area and speeding — though Palmer admitted that some of the noise might be exacerbated by the echo effect under the Whitehurst Freeway. “The mayor’s representative noted that much of the trash we were seeing on the ground is related to the manner in which synthetic marijuana is smoked,” Palmer wrote.

Her message also contained the following: “The consistent nature of these disorders — not necessarily criminal activity but simple disorder — make the area ripe for low level crimes that could, as it did in this case, escalate to a significant crime. One family living in the area already has moved away because of the feeling that the area is dangerous.”

Al Umar, a vendor who parks his ice cream truck at least twice a month close to where the shooting occurred, fears news of his latest attack may have an effect on his business, according to a WUSA report. “As long as this kind of news keeps spreading around, [it could] scare away customers to enjoy the fun they usually have,” he said.

The victim was identified July 9 as Kennedy Javier Amaya-Olivares.  The second victim was reported to be in critical condition at a local hospital.

Who was responsible? At press time, no one was saying. But investigators were believed to be seeking a gray Nissan with Maryland tags, according to NBC Washington’s Derrick Ward.

The $25,000 reward offer remains in effect. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099. Information may also be submitted anonymously to the department’s Text Tip Line by sending a text message to 50411.


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