There’s really nothing more ominous than a circling police helicopter. Action movies are to blame: for immediate drama intensification, just show a chopper cutting across the sky, or better yet, zipping between skyscrapers. Works every time. When I saw a helicopter in Columbia Heights on Saturday night around 11 p.m., I immediately thought the worst. With its spotlight beaming, it made several tight rotations in the area. On Girard Street, the block between 13th and 14th was closed off, and there were several parked cop cars. Soon, rumors were circulating amongst onlookers. There was a murder! There was a drug bust!

Wrong, and wrong. Of course, these were realistic options. And, for the record, at the moment, the homicide count in D.C. is up from last year’s numbers: 112 today, as compared to 106 on August 1, 2007, as stated on MPD’s website. But those figures are not part of our story. Apparently, the helicopter was called over to Columbia Heights after checking out a fight reported around O Street in Southwest, according to Marco Santiago, the third district’s community relations coordinator. Then, a call came in describing sounds of gunshots on Girard Street. A black revolver was recovered from an alley on the above-mentioned block. Then, the helicopter flew directly west where a rifle was recovered at 1620 Columbia Road, said Santiago.

Image by Mr. T in DC.