When Coreen and Ricardo Urbina moved into their Northwest Washington neighborhood six years ago, Soloman Roziner welcomed them.
"He said this was a nice neighborhood, a safe neighborhood," Coreen Urbina said last night. "He said he'd never had any problems."
The irony of those words wasn't lost on the Urbinas and their neighbors after Roziner, 81, was found dead yesterday morning in his home in the 5000 block of 13th Street NW. Police said he had been struck on the head, possibly by a burglar.
Neighbors described Roziner as a cheerful, active man who had lived in the same house for at least 60 years. His age didn't stop him from shoveling snow or grooming his yard, which is where neighbors said they usually saw him.
"He was extremely pleasant," said Ricardo Urbina, a D.C. Superior Court judge. "He would sometimes cut his grass, then come over and do ours."
Roziner's slaying was the first of two reported yesterday in the District. Shortly before 11 last night, police found the body of a man in a car in the 1800 block of Perry Street NE, near Taft Junior High School. The victim, who had been shot in the head, was not immediately identified, and no motive for the killing was determined.
Neighbors said Roziner, a Polish immigrant, lived by himself in the two-story house. Police crime scene tape stretched across its porch last night, and two D.C. officers stood guard.
Urbina said Roziner loved to tell stories about life in Europe. "They were very interesting," Coreen Urbina said. "He was just a sweet, nice man."
Residents described their neighborhood of single-family houses as a quiet place of mainly older people, and were shocked by the violence.
"It's very disturbing," said one woman, who asked not to be identified. "I'm here alone a lot with my three kids, and this is scary."
The woman said her house had been burglarized three times during her five years in the neighborhood, and other residents said a string of burglaries had occurred in the block in the last several weeks.
Ricardo Urbina said Roziner's death was a reminder that no neighborhood is immune from violence. "These types of things can happen anywhere," he said, "and they do."