City Paper is not for tourists
Earlier today, we wrote about the police shooting that took place this morning at 830 7th Street NE. According to news accounts and police statements, D.C. cops were called to the address for a domestic dispute or assault. When they arrived they found a stabbing victim and the alleged perp. The suspect allegedly charged at the police with a pole. The police opened fire on the man and killed him. “He was dead on arrival. It was a fatal shooting,” says Traci Hughes, the D.C. police spokesperson.
The incident happened shortly before 11 a.m. While there was some back and forth over whether the home was a group home, it is a rooming house that does include people who are mentally ill. One former resident I interviewed said that he had been referred to the house by a psych facility. “This is supposed to be a community residential facility,” said the former resident of his one-time 7th Street home.
Tonight, the home was empty except for two residents. The former resident was on the scene as well. He talked about the man who had been shot and killed by police. He knew him as “Osmond.” Police released his name a few hours ago. His name is Osman A. Abdullahi. He was 36. The former resident said that Osman could be delusional, that he talked often about people out to get him. Some of Osman’s enemies were from Alaska. “I would say he was schizophrenic,” said the resident. “He talked about people coming to get him.”
A month ago, he says, he saw Osman laying on his bed. “He had a butcher knife under [the] covers,” he recalled. “He was worried about his roommates. He said the roommates were talking in their sleep about him.”
This morning, Osman, attacked one of his roommates, a senior citizen, someone the two current residents referred to only as “Lewis.” Grant Osborne, 57, a resident at the 7th Street home, says he woke up this morning to Osman standing in the doorway with a knife. He was fuming about his same old problem: People were out to get him. They were coming for him. Osborne didn’t understand. The shades were drawn.
Osborne remembers the police breaking down the door. He heard the police ask Osman multiple times to drop his weapon. He says he heard one shot.
Osborne is speaking from his stoop. He is dressed in sweat pants, a sweat shirt and jacket. He is wearing a knitcap. It is 6:15 p.m. Soon two members of the Department of Mental Health‘s mobile crisis unit show up at the stoop. They offer to talk to Osborne and another resident. They want to talk inside where it is supposedly warm.
When they open the door to 730 8th Street, it is immediately apparent that inside will not work. There is blood in the foyer. It has pooled and congealed in spots. In one area, there is a small squiggle of bloody flesh.
Blood splatter or blood smears are on the lower right corner of the wall. Mobile Crisis calls it in. They want to see about getting this cleaned up. “There’s still blood on the floor,” one tells the authorities. “Nobody’s here except for the people that live here.”
“There is blood in the hallway,” she tells the police during a second call. “This is a biohazard.” It is 6:45 p.m. Police say they are done with the crime scene. It isn’t their job to clean up the blood. A police cruiser soon passes by. And then another.
The carpet is drenched with blood and fluids. It’s not quite a carpet. It looks like the foam layer that comes with the carpet. The foam is duct taped to the floor and stairs. In the kitchen, the sink is stopped up. The garbage disposal switch does nothing. Also, Osborne says one of the bathrooms is “messed up.”
The former resident says he had to move because his bedroom had a mold problem. The former resident eventually leaves. He says he is headed for a niece’s house in Maryland. He carries with him a loaded down garbage bag. If anyone needs him, he says, he will be at a local psych facility in the morning.
It is freezing inside 830 7th Street. Osborne says sometimes the heat comes on. Sometimes it’s just cold. Upstairs there is a blood stain in the hall.
There is no one there to supervise the men. There is no one there to make sure the heat works, to clean up all the blood on the floor. Mobile Crisis makes a call to the proprietor—Mark Spence of an organization called “Hope Finders.” Mobile Crisis has to leave a message.The men say they haven’t seen him in a while.
I later reach Spence. He says that he has yet to visit his property since the shooting death of Osmond. “I wasn’t down there,” he says. “I know all about it. I really don’t have any comment.”
Osborne says he has been living at 830 7th Street for no more than a year. When he first arrived, he says, “everything was brand new.” He doesn’t know how many group homes or rooming houses he’s lived in. There was one in Baltimore. There was a stay at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington. Now, there is uncertainty.
The two employees from Mobile Crisis do not think it is a good idea for Osborne to stay at 830 7th Street. They bring up the blood.
Osborne is prepared to leave, he says. He agrees to get in their van and find other shelter options. He tells one of the employees that he left all of his clothes and belongings in his first-floor room. But that he doesn’t care. The employee assures him that he can get more clothes. All he carries with him to the van is a small, half-filled plastic bag. His nose is running. His sweat pants have seen better days. But his tan work boots look new. Osborne takes a seat in the far back corner of the van.
Osborne just stares out the window and takes in the car’s heat.
There is one resident left at 830 7th Street NE. He tells mobile crisis that he doesn’t want to go with them in their van. There is not much else mobile crisis can do. The resident quietly closes the door, walks back across the blood, and on inside.