Waiting for the 90 bus at 13th and U last Friday afternoon, 43-year-old Leon Wilkerson was jolted to attention by a bag of candy whizzing by and landing near him on the sidewalk. A young man in shorts and a black T-shirt walked over and took credit. “‘Yeah, I threw it,’” he said, in Wilkerson’s recollection. “‘What you wanna do?’”

“I just stood there looking at him,” Wilkerson says. “Then for some reason, I just started to smile.” At that, the man grabbed the candy, slapped Wilkerson across the cheek with it, then spit in his face. The man’s friends pulled him away. As Wilkerson called 911, the group hurried into the U Street Metro station. Moments later, a van containing two D.C. police officers arrived.

The officers, Wilkerson says, weren’t eager to help. One was apparently short on cash and ran over to an ATM. Both officers discouraged Wilkerson from filing a complaint and went back to sit in their van.

A few minutes later, the officers’ boss pulled up. Lt. Michael Smith ran down into the station and jumped through the closing doors of a car with the suspects inside. During the ensuing melee, Smith injured his right pinkie, and the main suspect punched out a Metro car window. Smith detained two members of the group but missed the candy-slapper. Smith says he’s identified the suspect, a juvenile whose MySpace picture is taped to the wall at the Silver Spring substation of the Montgomery County Police. His caption reads, “It’s not my fault I’m out of control.…Mess with me, get shot.”