Mount Pleasant Vigil Honors Victim and Presses Police on Crime

By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gregory C. Shipe didn't live in Mount Pleasant long, but his slaying on Irving Street eight months ago left a lasting impression on many of his neighbors.

A sunset vigil honored Shipe last week and was a reminder of the vigilance that residents must maintain to combat crime in their Northwest neighborhood. Shipe was shot in the face Sept. 17 as he walked his dog through the quiet, leafy 1700 block of Irving Street.

"We wanted to send a message to the perpetrators of this crime that we care," organizer Marika Torok said.

Organizers hoped the event would serve as a chance for the two dozen residents, who carried lemon-colored candles, to meet police officers and gather information about crime prevention.

The vigil also was meant to pressure police to solve the crime and the D.C. Council to put more officers on the street and strengthen gun laws.

"We haven't forgotten the case, so they damn well better have not," Torok said.

D.C. police operated an open-air mini-substation in the block throughout the day. They provided pamphlets on home safety and police operations and used floodlights to illuminate the vigil that night.

Shipe, a 34-year-old financial analyst, had moved to an apartment on Kenyon Street a few weeks before his killing. His father, Bruce Shipe, who drove from his home near Pittsburgh to attend the vigil, said such expressions of sympathy and remembrance have been cathartic for his family.

"I've lost a son, but I've gained so many other children," Bruce Shipe said of his slain son's friends, co-workers and neighbors who attended the vigil.

Bruce Shipe said he spoke often with Detective Tony Patterson, an investigator on the case. Patterson said, "I make it a point to talk to them at least once a month, even if I have nothing to talk about."

Patterson said the investigation has little to go on. Police believe the slaying occurred during a botched robbery, but investigators have no eyewitnesses and only slim descriptions of two young men in the area at the time of the crime.

"That thing is wide open," Patterson said. "I wish someone was talking about it, but they aren't."

Anyone with information may contact D.C. police at 202-727-9099.

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