Suspects in killing at Metro station are due in court


D.C. Metropolitan Police patrol outside the Woodley Park Metro Station where a young man was fatally stabbed Saturday night in Washington, D.C.on November 18, 2012. Olijawon Griffin,18 was fatally stabbed Saturday in the Woodley Park Metro station after a dispute with teenagers who had robbed him earlier. (Marvin Joseph/THE WASHINGTON POST)
November 18, 2012

Nine suspects in the stabbing death of Olijawon Griffin at the Woodley Park Metro station are scheduled to appear in court Monday, with the youth accused of killing Griffin facing possible arraignment as an adult on charges of second-degree murder, assault and robbery, police said.

Griffin, 18, of Olney was stabbed to death early Saturday inside the station after encountering a group of youths. Police said Griffin had been robbed earlier of several items while he was with two friends walking through Adams Morgan, a Northwest Washington neighborhood that is popular for its bustling bars, clubs and restaurants.

Police are still sorting out the details of the case, and they were waiting to interview one of Griffin’s friends who was hospitalized after a beating during the melee, D.C. police homicide commander Lt. Robert Alder said Sunday.

Alder said police were examining surveillance video that they hope will provide more information about the incident, which occurred at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday. Alder said several weapons were found at the scene Saturday, but he declined to say what types of weapons and how many.

“We are still investigating to see whose they were,” Alder said.

The slaying, a rare act of violence in the upscale Woodley Park neighborhood, left community members concerned.

Bill Kummings, a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission who has lived in the area since 1994, said he could not recall anything similar happening in the area. “It is just one of those horrible situations,” he said. “It is a tragedy.”

Woodley Park Metro serves the National Zoo and a group of restaurants, stores and hotels on and near Connecticut Avenue. Kummings said that the Metro station is a popular stop for the crowds heading to Adams Morgan, which is about a mile away.

“It is amazing how many people are coming out of there at 9 on a Thursday night and heading across the Calvert Street bridge,” Kummings said. The system is open until 3 a.m. on weekends.

Lindsay Robertson, a server at Hot n’ Juicy Crawfish, a bar and restaurant on Connecticut across the street from the Metro station, was stunned to learn of the stabbing, which occurred as she and her co-workers were having a drink nearby after work.

“It’s crazy. We were right there,” Robertson said. “It’s just tragic.”

Robertson, who lives in Arlington County, said she uses Metro to commute.

“I won’t take it at night anymore,” she said.

On a typical weekend, about 250 riders enter the station after midnight and about 150 exit, Metro spokeswoman Caroline L. Lukas said in an e-mail.

Authorities did not confirm where the stabbing occurred in the station, but a Metro user who entered the station shortly after the attack told The Washington Post that he saw a woman trying to revive someone on the floor outside the fare gates.

Griffin was a 2012 graduate of Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, where he played football. By Sunday, several of Griffin’s friends and family members had created public posts on Facebook mourning his death.

Griffin’s family could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Those familiar with the nightlife in Adams Morgan said the crime was alarming but not a shock.

Yassine, a cabdriver who goes by one name and has worked in the District for 26 years, said the weekend scene in Adams Morgan increasingly has become a spectacle, prompting him to end his night shifts earlier.

“You’ve got people drunk; it gets crazy,” Yassine said. “At midnight, that’s it.”

Zach Myers, manager at the Smoke and Barrel, a restaurant on 18th Street near the scene of the robbery , said he thinks the District generally has become safer in recent years. But there is always the potential for trouble on weekend nights, he said.

“The Friday and Saturday night crowd is different than the people who live here,” Myers said. “In general, on a Friday or Saturday night in the city, you have to pay attention to what’s happening and be on guard.”

Caitlin Gibson covers Loudoun County for The Washington Post.
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