The building where the shooting happened played a key role in the neighborhood’s transformation, said Dupree, who is a Washington Post employee. The decision in the late 1990s for the Naval Sea Systems Command to bring the building and more than 4,000 new employees to the neighborhood was one of its key milestones — along with the rebuilding of public housing there and the creation of the ballpark.
The Navy Yard area, which runs along the southern border of the residential Capitol Hill neighborhood, is an unusual mix. Between the Navy Yard, the Transportation Department building and the Marine base a block up, uniforms of all kinds are common. On weekends there are also clusters of baseball fans walking from the subway to the stadium. In the midst are families and others snapping up brightly colored new rowhouses, as well as an ever-growing number of people who come to eat at new restaurants and bars opening on Barracks Row, or Eighth Street SE, which runs from Eastern Market to the Navy Yard.
It’s clearly still a neighborhood in transition. Cranes and builders are a common sight, as are lots waiting to be built upon.
On Monday morning, Navy employees coming in and out of the L Street convenience store at Seventh Street SE, one block from the Navy Yard entrance, said the neighborhood still feels somewhat edgy. “A lot of people walk around here looking half-wound,” one woman said.
The store’s owner, Eun Park, said that it was robbed last month and that she had mixed feelings about neighborhood officials asking her not to put bars on a large window. She recently had put the window where a brick wall used to be because locals said they prefer that look.
“I like it here, but it’s still dangerous,” she said.
Karen Mills grew up in the Navy Yard area in the late ’60s and is now a pastor for a church at Fourth and I streets SE. She said the neighborhood bonded as residents sought to make the area safer but also because they were more similar in some ways — more African American and less wealthy, and everyone had lived there for a long time. “Even with the crime, everyone stuck together.”
But crime isn’t unfamiliar to people in that neighborhood.
On Monday, while Hansen guarded the door at Tyler, other parents were confined to the building all day because of the lockdown. While they were inside, someone broke into one mother’s car to steal her purse and phone.