City Paper is not for tourists
This morning D.C. Police were involved in a shooting at a group home on 7th Street NE (Post has it at 7th Street NW and they are wrong). According to WJLA, police say they responded to a call for a domestic incident at the group home. When they arrived, police were allegedly attacked by a man with both a knife and a pole. Officers responded by firing on the man. The man is in critical condition at this time. Police found a stabbing victim inside the group home. There is no word on the condition of either the alleged attacker or the stabbing victim.
Department of Mental Health spokesperson Phyllis Jones says that the address is not a group home operated by DMH or is a facility that has a contract with DMH.
There was a violent incident at a group home roughly a month ago. On December 14, Donna Gardner robbed and killed Helen May at a Community Connections group home at 5422 Blair Road NE. Gardner, according to court documents, suffocated May with a blanket.
This also may be the second incident involving the police shooting a citizen in crisis. In early November, David Kerstetter was shot and killed by a D.C. police officer.
Just as the Kerstetter incident raised questions about the city’s inability to deal with residents in crisis, the May murder brought up issues about how a group home monitors its own.
Update 3:28 p.m. I just got off the phone with Traci Hughes, the D.C. Police Department spokesperson. She says the man who was shot by police has died from his injuries.
“He was dead on arrival. It was a fatal shooting.” She goes on to give a better account of what happened. When the police arrived at the 7th Street NE address (it was NE), they immediately came upon a victim with a stab wound to the neck. They then found the person’s alleged attacker. He chased police with a pole, Hughes says. A scuffle ensued. “It all happened really quick,” Hughes says. Hughes did not yet have the name of the dead man.
Update 4:42 p.m.: Department of Mental Health spokesperson Phyllis Jones: “We are investigating now whether or not people in the house were receiving mental health services.” She does not yet know if DMH’s mobile crisis response team was called this morning to respond to the incident. Calls to the mobile crisis response team have not be returned. Hughes says she is not sure if DMH responded to the incident or were called.
Here are the details from that group home murder.
On December 14, Gardner, according to court records, had told police that she had been smoking crack with a male friend. She then returned to the group home and went into May’s bathroom in an attempt to steal money from May’s purse. May caught her in the act. Court records go on to state that when May opened her purse, Gardner grabbed $100 from the purse and bolted. At 4:30 a.m., Gardner returned to May’s room in an attempt to steal more money. Gardner and May then got into a fight. May began to scream and “make noises.”
“The defendant said she then grabbed the decedent’s nose with her right hand and put her other hand over the decedent’s mouth. The defendant said the decedent slid off the bed onto the floor and that she got on top of the decedent. The defendant said while on the floor, she punched the decedent several times in the face with a closed fist and continued to grab the decedent’s nose and stuff covers into the decedent’s mouth until the decedent stopped moving. After the decedent stopped moving, the defendant opened the purse and took $88 in coins from the purse.
The defendant then took the coins to a nearby Giant Foodstore and utilized the Coinstar machine to convert the coins into paper money. Upon leaving the Giant, the defendant then used the money to buy more cocaine”
Questions still outstanding: What was the group home’s staff doing at the time of the May murder? Did anyone respond to May’s screams? How is a resident allowed to enter another resident’s room multiple times? Did the staff greet Gardner at the entrance? Did they know she was high? (Community Connections refused to comment to City Desk). With the 7th Street incident today, was DMH’s mobile crisis response unit called?