Increased Police Presence Couldn't Stop Columbia Heights Slaying
Friday, June 12, 2009
After a series of shootings this year in and around the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW, D.C. police stationed an officer there to provide an extra measure of public safety.
It wasn't enough.
In an alley just steps away from the officer's post, Rahiem Moore was shot and killed about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. A security camera, also intended to put criminals on notice, hangs from a nearby apartment building, police investigators said.
"It's getting ridiculous. There's innocent people who live here," said Jean Bland, who lives in a nearby apartment that has a bright red rug, two purple couches and several old bullet holes. One gunshot left a pockmarked circle in her front closet; another etched a long scar in her ceiling.
"Something has to be done," said Bland, 54.
Detectives spent the morning yesterday canvassing the low-slung brick buildings that make up Columbia Village, a low-income apartment complex a few blocks from the Target store in the neighborhood's redeveloped business corridor. The flier they handed out featured a photo of Moore, whose age and address were not immediately known, and sought the public's help in solving the slaying.
Bland accepted a flier and kept it folded up in the pocket of her shorts.
"There's drug dealing that goes on around here, and people are afraid to speak up," she said. "The community has to step forward."
Cmdr. George Kucik of the 3rd Police District said extra officers have been assigned to the area since February. A police car with a portable light tower also is part of the increased police presence, but the tower wasn't lit Wednesday night because of thunderstorms.
"I know the officer was in the block, but I don't know exactly where the officer was at the time of the shooting," Kucik said. "I'm going to look into it."
Kucik said further details about the officer's actions would be part of the investigation.
D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents the area, said an increased police presence, while a step in the right direction, can't solve a neighborhood's ills.