At 8:25 p.m., several police officers, in uniform and plain clothes, surround a woman. They don’t just surround her, they huddle over her. It is impossible to see this woman. All you can do is hear her. She is screaming.
“I’m going in the street!” she bellows. This is her plea. She has a right to it.
Up the street is her brother. He is behind police tape. He lies motionless at 11th and Harvard Streets NW. He is wearing a red jacket and blue jeans and sneakers. He is dead. Someone shot him, according to police.
The sister tries to wriggle free. She is not wearing a shirt. All she has on is a black bra. A cop grabs her and holds her. He hugs her. “I will stay here with you,” he pleads. D.C. Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier stands nearby, close as she can to the mass of officers, and the sister.
After a brief moment of calm, the sister breaks free from the police and runs. It is cold and blustery. Crowds have gathered at two of the intersection’s four points. The sister doesn’t care that she is only wearing a bra. She dashes down Girard. The officers follow and attempt to pull her back in, to pull her close, to calm her down.
A woman takes in the scene just behind the yellow tape. She says the man lying up there—that was her best friend. She says she works at the group home just up Girard. The man’s family lives a few doors down. “He was a good friend,” she says. He was 39. He liked the Redskins. “He’s just a sweet person,” she adds. That’s all she can say at the moment.
It is 8:35 p.m.
A man comes up to Lanier. He is dressed in a track suit. He has a puffy goatee. They talk for a brief moment in the middle of the intersection. He just tells her this: “She is crazy.”
A few moments later, the decedent’s mother arrives and heads straight for her son. She has to be held back by police and bystanders. She pleads her case. She jumps up in the air. She claps. Her shock is uncontrollable and heartbreaking. She is screaming.
Lanier comes over and puts her arms around and escorts her to a police cruiser. The mom takes the passenger seat.
Lanier crouches next to her and talks. She gets a small miracle: laughter.
“Someone shot him walking up the street,” says a bystander. “That don’t make sense.”
Down Girard, the decedent’s sister is still shouting, still refusing to put on a shirt. A half block away, you can still hear her: “Let me go!”
A young woman—maybe in her early 20s—comes up to the tape and finds a friend. “I just called your phone,” she says. “I need a hug. This is the worst thing ever.”
“Get off of me!” the sister screams. “Bitch, move! Let me go! Kiss my ass!”
A friend of the family shows up with clothes. It’s still no good.
At 8:50 p.m., Lanier has got the mother calm. “I told her I’m sorry, really sorry,” Lanier says. “Even the grandmother is here. She’s 80 years old.”
Of the victim, Lanier learned a few things: “He mentors kids, coaches basketball.” She doesn’t know his name. It hasn’t been released yet; she says he is married and his wife still doesn’t know.
“There’s a 100 people here,” she says. “I guarantee three of them know what happened.”
Lanier gets called away. She is asked to speak to the man’s sister, who is now at the corner of 11th and Girard just a few feet from the police tape. As people put clothes on her, sweatpants and a top, Lanier gets close in and pleads with her to calm down. The sister is mad—she doesn’t know why her brother still has to be laid out on the street.
Lanier tells her she knows—she knows she’s hurting bad. “You will see your brother,” she says. “You have to let us finish.”
Update 1:26 a.m.: MPD sent this release. It reads in part:
“The victim, identified as 37-year-old Louis Beamon, of the 5300 block of Quincy Street in Hyattsville, Maryland, was officially pronounced dead on the scene at 10:00 pm by a representative of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia. Subsequently, the remains were transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call police at (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIM[E]. Anonymous information may also be forwarded to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.”