Crime: Secret Service Shots Fired in Georgetown; Chief Smith Confirmed
By November 13, 2023 One Comment 1014•
In a show of unity to address the city’s “crime crisis,” the D.C. Council voted unanimously Nov. 7 to confirm Mayor Bowser’s nomination of Acting Police Chief Angela A. Smith to become the permanent Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). But, MPD’s year-to-date city crime statistics reveal the dire challenge Smith faces.
As of Nov. 13, MPD reports the following alarming increases in city-wide crime compared to this date last year: All Crime (Total): up 27 percent. Homicides: up 32 percent. Robbery up 68 percent. Violent Crime (Total): up 39 percent. Motor Vehicle Theft: up 98 percent. Theft (Other): up 22 percent. Property Crime (Total): up 25 percent.
Separately, MPD reports carjackings have almost doubled in the last year. In 2022, they were 14 percent higher than in 2021 with a total of 485 incidents. But so far this year, there have been 863 carjackings, 74 percent of which involved guns and only 226 of which have been closed as cases.
As if to illustrate the challenges Smith now faces: news this morning of shots fired in Georgetown by U.S. Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Biden’s 29-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Biden, a lawyer for Arnold & Porter. Late Sunday, according to an anonymous source interviewed by AP, the agents “saw three people breaking a window of the parked and unoccupied SUV” used to transport and protect Naomi Biden, who was returning to her Georgetown home accompanied by the agents when the shots were fired.
According to ABC News: “During [the] encounter, a federal agent discharged a service weapon and it is believed no one was struck,” the spokesperson said. “The offenders immediately fled the scene in a red vehicle and a regional lookout was issued to supporting units. There was no threat to any protectees and the incident is being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department and the Secret Service.” It is not clear whether Naomi Biden witnessed the commotion, but she was “made aware of the incident afterward,” sources told AP.
Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesperson for the Secret Service, “did not describe the threat that caused the agent to fire” and the “agent was not identified,” according to an MPD press release. “Guglielmi said the agent, a member of the protective detail, has been placed on routine administrative leave during the investigation. He said the Secret Service and D.C. police are investigating,” MPD said.
In a statement following the incident, MPD said, “Second District officers, and MPD Internal Affairs were on scene assisting US Secret Service regarding this incident. We have no further information at this time.”
Meanwhile, the Opioid and Crime epidemics…
The opioid and crime crises also came to the fore Sunday morning in another case of retail theft in broad daylight at the CVS at 6 Dupont Circle Northwest. Many CVS and other pharmacy retailers have fallen victim to “organized retail theft” in recent weeks – a new crime category Mayor Bowser created in her emergency crime package to address the alarming number of mass store thefts leaving shelves empty and forcing stores to consider relocation and armed security.
“We’ve seen the videos of the ransacked shelves at CVS pharmacies like this one in the Columbia Heights neighborhood,” WUSA9 reporter Rafael Sanchez-Cruz said on News at 11 to frame his story about an armed man who pulled a “silver handgun” out of his jacket and demanded the opiate Oxycodone at the pharmacy desk on the second floor of the CVS. According to MPD, the robber announced: “I need all the oxycontin you have. You have five minutes, I will shoot you.”
According to police, the robber was given a single bottle of Oxycodone by the pharmacist – though he demanded two – and then ran off toward the Dupont Circle Metro station. Police have only provided a “vague description of the robber” who is still at-large, Sanchez-Cruz said.
“Last week the District Council passed a measure urging Mayor Bowser to declare a public health emergency over the opioid epidemic in an effort to make it easier to enact legislation and policy changes,” WUSA9 reported. “Council member Cristina Henderson who chairs the Committee on Health says D.C. is on pace to have over 400 opioid-related deaths in 2023 and at the same time the District has registered over 3000 robberies so far this year. That’s 1200 more than during the same time last year according to police data.”
In Georgetown, the Safeway at 1855 Wisconsin Ave. NW and the CVS stores along Wisconsin Avenue and M Streets have been hit repeatedly by retail theft. And, according to WUSA9, “Giant recently announced they’re removing some brand name products from its store in Southeast D.C. due to shoplifting. The CVS Pharmacy in Columbia Heights has garnered attention after people posted videos of the empty shelves. An employee told WUSA9 that thieves are stealing merchandise from the delivery trucks before it even makes it into the store.”
Even Police Are Vulnerable
Recently, police authorities themselves have fallen prey to the rash of auto thefts in the District. On Nov. 10 a police car was reported stolen from the University of the District of Columbia campus at 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW at around 3:45 a.m., according to MPD. Per the Washington Post, Lee Lepe, a spokesperson for D.C. police, said the vehicle was found Friday evening about five miles away at the unit block of P Street NW just west of North Capitol Street. “It was not clear who took the car or why, or where it had been in the hours between when it was taken and when it was found. The gray 2023 Ford Explorer bore markings clearly indicating it was a police vehicle.”
On social media Nov. 12, MPD 2nd Watch Commander posted that the “Second District is investigating a Robbery (Gun)” on Nov. 11 at approximately 11:41 p.m. in the 900 block of G Place NW. “Three black males dressed in all-black approached the victim and brandished firearms before demanding property,” the post said. “Taken were personal items including cell phones recovered near 9th and F Streets NW.” Suspects were “last seen in a grey Toyota Corolla with unknown Maryland tags.”
On Nov. 10, detectives from MPD’s Fourth District announced the arrest or a man “after he assaulted and robbed two victims. Taquine Lee, 29, of Northwest, D.C., was arrested and charged in incidents at the following locations.
- On Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, at approximately 2:20 p.m. in the 6000 block of Georgia Avenue, NW.
- On Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, at approximately 2:25 p.m., in the 5800 block of Georgia Avenue, NW.
On Nov. 6, detectives from MPD’s Second District announced a man was “arrested in a stabbing” that occurred in the 2100 block of P Street NW. On Nov. 5, “at approximately 8:21 p.m., a man and the victim were involved in an argument at the listed location,” an MPD press release said. “After the argument the suspect approached the victim, produced a sharp object, and stabbed the victim. The man” — 51-year-old Oliver Davis, of no fix address — was arrested and charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Ice Pick).”
On Nov. 4, detectives from MPD’s Homicide Branch announced an investigation into a “shooting that killed a teenager in Northwest, D.C.” On Nov. 3, at “approximately 11:37 p.m.,” Third District officers “responded to the corner of 14th Street and Fairmont Street, NW for the report of sounds of gunshots. Upon arrival, officers located a juvenile male with gunshot wound injuries. He was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries,” an MPD press release said. The victim “has been identified as 14-year-old Niko Estep, of Southeast, DC.” A “second juvenile male victim was located in the 1400 block of Fairmont Street, NW, conscious and breathing. He was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
On Nov. 4, MPD’s Homicide Branch announced an investigation into a “shooting that killed a man in Northwest, D.C.” On Nov. 2, at “approximately 2:08 a.m.,” Fourth District officers “responded to the 3400 block of 14th Street NW, for the “report of a shooting.” Upon arrival, “officers located two men with gunshot wound injuries. Both victims were transported to local hospitals.” On Nov. 4, “one of the victims succumbed to his injuries.” He has been identified as 29-year-old Johansel Encarnacion, of Northeast, D.C.
On Oct. 25, officers in MPD’s Second District announced the “arrest of a man for shoplifting incidents.” On Oct. 24, at “approximately 7 a.m.,” a man entered a business in in the 3500 block of Connecticut Avenue Northwest and “placed over $1000 of merchandise into two suitcases. He then passed all points of sale. As he was exiting the store, an MPD officer stopped him and he abandoned the suitcases and ran from the business. He was located and arrested by responding officers. 34-year-old Antonio Halfacre, no fixed address, was charged with Second-Degree Theft,” according to an MPD press release. “Mr. Halfacre was also charged with Second-Degree Theft and Unlawful Entry for a previous incident.” On Oct. 23, at “approximately 7:13 a.m.,” he entered the same business in the 3500 block of Connecticut Avenue Northwest and “placed over $950 of merchandise in suitcases and left the business without paying.”
Weekly Firearm Recoveries
In its “Weekly Firearm Recoveries” report from Oct. 30-Nov. 6, MPD announced 45 firearms taken off the streets of D.C. Of the 38 arrestees reported, more than half (21) were 21-years-old or younger. The following listing provides a snapshot of young-adult gun possession in the District: “A 9mm caliber “Ghost Gun” handgun, a Glock 19 9mm caliber handgun, a Glock 30 .45 caliber handgun, and a Glock 26 9mm caliber handgun were recovered in the 1800 block of Perry Street, NW. The following people were arrested: 18-year-old Jalen Joseph Shelton, of Northwest, D.C., and 19-year-old Terry Gibson, Jr., of Northeast, D.C., for Carrying a Pistol without a License, Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, Possession of Unregistered Ammunition, Carrying a Pistol without a License – Gun Free Zone, Possession with Intent to [Distribute] Marijuana while Armed, Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun, Possession of an Open Container of Alcohol, and Possession of a large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device.”