Crime: New Second District Commander; Data Analysis, Local Crime
By March 20, 2023 0 567•
New Commander in Town
There’s a new police commander in town. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced March 13 that Commander John Branch of MPD’s Seventh District – a nearly 30-year veteran of the force – has taken over leadership of the Second District serving Georgetown from Commander Duncan Bedlion who’s been promoted to “lead functions within the Homeland Security Bureau, DC Fusion Center Liaison, and Office of Intelligence.” Commander Bedlion had served as Second District Commander since January, 2019.
According to MPD, Branch is a native Washingtonian and graduate of Ballou Senior High School where he was a member of the Track and Field team and earned an athletic scholarship to Howard University. He “began his career in 1993 in the Fourth District, first as a patrol officer and then as part of the 4D Gun Unit.” Then, in March 1997, “moved to the Narcotics and Special Investigation Division (NSID), where he spent two years before he earned a position as a tactical officer with the Emergency Response Team.” He then “became a helicopter pilot with the Air Support Unit” in December 2007. By 2010, Branch was “promoted to sergeant,” returning to the Fourth District “in charge of the 4D Crime Suppression Team.” Soon, he also assumed responsibility for the 4D Vice Unit as well.
By November 2014, Branch was serving as a sergeant of the Emergency Response Team as well as a helicopter pilot in the Special Operations Division. He was promoted to lieutenant in November 2016, serving in the Seventh District through 2018 and placed in charge of that district’s Special Missions Unit. By 2018, he was promoted to captain and assigned to the Sixth District. He was selected as one of six captains to manage an area designated as a Summer Crime Prevention Initiative Area (SCPI). He was then assigned to the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division and placed in charge of field operations.
In January 2021, “shortly after the Capitol riot and insurrection, Branch was reassigned to the Special Operations Division and placed in charge of the Traffic Safety and Special Enforcement Branch, Events/Presidential Escort Team. On May 7, 2021, Branch was promoted to commander and assigned to the Seventh District where he served for almost two years before taking command of the Second District.
Branch became a familiar figure on television following several shootings in the Seventh District. In September 2021 after a mass shooting outside a shopping center in Southeast D.C., Branch “walked around Alabama Avenue talking to members of the community before addressing a few reporters who were still on the scene,” according to WTOP News. “After a few minutes of talking about the particular incident, just the latest of several shootings that have plagued that area recently, the frustration over what happened — the brazenness and willingness of people to just “spray and pray” as he called it — was evident in his voice.” For Branch, community policing would have to be part of the solution to gun violence in the District. “It’s very personal. I take my job seriously. I want to have a good society where everyone can thrive and live and enjoy themselves,” he said, emphasizing that it will take support throughout the community, not just policing, to make an impact.
District Crime Data
An examination of the District’s “crime data at a glance” reported in MPD’s “Year-to-Date Crime Comparison” as of March 20, 2023 reveals several alarming rises in particular crimes throughout the city. From March 2022 through March 2023, “homicide” is up 7 percent, “sex abuse” is up 111 percent, “motor vehicle theft” is up 106 percent, “theft from auto” is up 15 percent, “theft (other)” is up 16 percent, and “arson” is up from 1 to 5 cases (or 400 percent.)
Given national attention to the battle over revisions to D.C.’s criminal code, these increases are likely to overwhelm notable declines in other crimes in the District since last year, including a drop in “robberies” of 7 percent, “violent crimes (total) down 2 percent, and “burglary” down 22 percent.
Weekly Firearm Recoveries
In their “Weekly Firearm Recoveries” report covering March 6 through 13, MPD reported 47 firearms taken off the streets. Violators’ ages continued to skew young throughout the city, including arrestees aged: 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22. Multiple “ghost guns” were seized in the arrests.
Stolen Vehicle Arrests
On March 17, MPD announced arrests in recent Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle and Theft One (Stolen Auto) offenses in the District. Here are reports from Northwest D.C.:
Friday, March 10, 2023
- 21-year-old Andre Hicks of no fixed address and 20-year-old Raykia Pasten of Northwest, DC, were arrested for an Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offense that occurred in the 600 block of Emmanuel Court, Northwest. CCN: 23-037-732
- A 14-year-old juvenile male of Northwest, DC, and a 16-year-old juvenile male, of Northeast, DC, were arrested for an Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offense that occurred in the 1900 block of Vermont Avenue, Northwest. CCN: 23-037-768
Saturday, March 11, 2023
- 18-year-old Namya Kittrell and a 17-year-old juvenile male, both of Northwest, DC, were arrested for an Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offense that occurred in the 500 block of Rhode Island Avenue, Northwest. CCN: 23-038-116
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
- 31-year-old Everette Trueh, of Southeast, DC, was arrested for a Theft One (Stolen Auto) and an Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offense that occurred in the 1400 block of Monroe Street, Northwest. CCN: 23-033-947
Local Crime Reports
Detectives from MPD’s Second District announced an arrest stemming from an “Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Knife) Offense” that occurred on Thursday, March 16, 2023 in the 2100 block of P St. NW. “At approximately 10:54 pm, the suspect and victim were involved in a physical altercation at the listed location. During the altercation, the suspect brandished a knife and stabbed the victim. The suspect was apprehended by responding officers. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries,” according to MPD. “On Thursday, March 16, 32-year-old Aaron Liverpool, of Alexandria, VA, was arrested and charged with the suspected offense.
On Thursday, March 16, detectives from MPD’s Fourth District announced they’re seeking the public’s assistance in locating suspects and a vehicle in reference to an “Armed Robbery (Gun) Offense” that occurred on that same day in the 6300 block of 5th St. NW. “At approximately 9:59 am, the suspects approached the victim at the listed location. One of the suspects brandished a handgun and forcibly took property from the victim. As the suspects returned to the suspect vehicle, the armed suspect fired one shot towards the ground. The suspects then fled the scene in a vehicle,” MPD reported. “The suspects and vehicle, described as a Black Infinity Q50, last seen displaying Maryland tags 6EW6629, were captured by a surveillance camera and can be seen in the photos below and in this video: https://youtu.be/XDNDzuJxYn8.”
Detectives from MPD’s First District announced March 16 they’re seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a “Burglary Two of an Establishment Offense” that occurred on Friday, March 3, in the 1000 block of 5th St. NE. “At approximately 3:43 am, the suspect forcibly gained entry to an establishment at the listed location. Once inside, the suspect took property and then fled the scene. The suspect was captured by a surveillance camera and can be seen in the photos and video:
On March 15, detectives from MPD’s Homicide Brach announced an arrest in a homicide that “occurred on Thursday, August 25, 2022, in the 800 block of 7th St. NW.
“At approximately 8:16 pm, members of the First District responded to the listed location for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, the members located an adult male victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the victim to a local hospital. After all life-saving efforts failed, the victim was pronounced dead. The decedent has been identified as 21-year-old Juwaan Henry, of Silver Spring, MD,” MPD reported. “On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, pursuant to a DC Superior Court arrest warrant, members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested 25-year-old Dwayne Brooks, Jr., of Southwest, D.C. He was transported to the Homicide Branch where he was charged with First Degree Murder while Armed – Felony Murder.”
On Friday, March 10, detectives from MPD’s Third District announced an arrest made in an “Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun) Offense” that occurred on Thursday, March 9 in the 700 block of O St. NW. “At approximately 7:01 p.m., members of the Third District responded to the 700 block of O Street, Northwest, for a report of sounds of gunshots. Upon arrival, members located an adult female suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. On Friday, March 10, 2023, 19-year-old Alex Barry, of Southwest, DC, was arrested and charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun),” MPD reported.
On March 7, MPD requested public assistance in locating a suspect wanted for an “escape offense,” 22-year-old Kenneth Phillips, described as a “black male, 6’0″ in height, weighing approximately 210 pounds with a light brown complexion.” According to MPD, Phillips was previously arrested on November 16, 2021, and “held in DC Jail on Carjacking and Burglary charges.” On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, DC Department of Corrections (DOC) staff transported Philips to Howard University Hospital for medical treatment whereupon at approximately 8:30 a.m. he was “able to escape from DOC staff” and “fled the hospital on foot. Surveillance photos of Philips are provided here:
Detectives from MPD’s Homicide Branch are investigating a homicide that occurred on Wednesday, March 1 in the 1400 block of V St. NW. “At approximately 9:28 pm, Third District officers responded to the listed location for the sounds of gunshots. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male shooting victim. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the victim to an area hospital for treatment. After all life-saving efforts failed, the adult male victim was pronounced dead. A second victim, an adult female, sought treatment, at a local hospital, for a non-life threatening gunshot wound,” MPD reported. “The decedent has been identified as 29-year-old Marvin Johnson, Jr., of Northwest, D.C.
MPD notice: Anyone with knowledge of the above incidents should “take no action, but call police at (202) 727-9099 or text your tip” to MPD’s Text Tip Line at 50411. Rewards may be available for information leading to arrests and conviction “of the person or persons responsible for a violent crime committed in the District of Columbia.”