Life and Death on the DC Streets 

UPDATEDAnnys Shin’s WaPo piece on HomicideWatch can be found here.

There’s a new murder site on the Interwebs:  A DC specific destination that goes on beyond the simple charge that wmrw has.

Whereas we obsessively track the comings and goings, ins and outs of the Robert Wone murder investigation and its companion trials, DC residents Laura Amico and her husband have taken our model one step further. 

HomicideWatch.org and its companion library offer “an online resource for all documents related to homicide cases in the District of Columbia.”  A tall order indeed and a very worthy mission.

On any given day, Laura and her team post two and three times.  Unfortunately, there is no shortage of content as the body counts in this city seems to never stop growing. 

This is a Herculean effort and are to be commended for taking the lead on such a worthy cause.  The site’s subhead plainly states a key part of their mission, “Mark every death. Remember every victim. Follow every case.”

Their editorial product is solid and the team brings respectable journalist credentials to the table.  From their ‘About’ page:

“There were certain heartbreaking tragedies in 2009. Oscar Fuentes, a nine-year-old Columbia Heights boy, was shot to death as he peered at his apartment door’s peephole. Teens Davonta Artis and Daquan Tibbs, dead in an after-school drive-by shooting in the troubled Clay Terrace neighborhood. Stephen T. Johns, 39, a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum security guard slain in the building’s lobby by a rifle wielding elderly white-supremacist.

Teens and children killed in senseless violence. Bodies left bullet-riddled in empty lots and abandoned cars. Families across D.C. grieving, mourning, remembering, wondering why. Still, in a city once known for violent crime the tide is turning.

One hundred and forty three people died in 2009; the fewest homicides in the District of Columbia since 1966.

“I could not be more pleased with the hard work put forth by the members of this department,” Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. “I truly believe that our dramatic reductions are the result of intelligence-driven community policing and our focus on repeat violent offenders; which has been greatly enhanced through the use of technology.”

But the decline must not be taken as an excuse to not pay attention. Whether or not we knew Fuentes, Artis, Tibbs, Johns or the 139 others slain last year, their stories are a part of who are are and how we live our lives in the District of Columbia.

With that in mind I introduce Homicide Watch D.C., a community-oriented homicide site that will provide clear information about homicide cases and the tools necessary to record, report and share our experiences and losses.

Organized around the victims, this site  provides context for each crime, linking a victim’s biographical details to the investigation and prosecution of his or her death. From social networking profiles to obituaries, news coverage and court documents, all public information related to a case will appear on the victim’s page. Friends, family members, neighbors and others are encouraged to contribute.”

A Washington Post feature on them is in the works and we’ll provide those links when the story hits. 

Laura told the reporter that aspects of wmrw served as an inspiration for her project.  We’re honored that she chose us as a model and are awestruck by the seemingly endless work they have ahead of them.

We hope HW.org is able to grow a similar community as active and passionate as the one we have here. 

More on HomicideWatch is here.

9 comments for “HomicideWatch

  1. Clio
    01/14/2011 at 9:34 PM

    Has the MPD gotten any better (since August 2006) in its understanding of LGBT cultures and of the possibility of LGBT perps?

  2. Clio
    01/15/2011 at 1:20 PM

    I did go to this site, and its gallery of DC’s murder victims for 2010 is both heart-breaking and necessary. Nearly all victims are young African American and Hispanic men; the only white person displayed was Neil Godleski of Petworth. These disparities, so apparent from this gallery, underscore why, in August 2006, Anacostia detectives may have been unaware of the (sub)cultural nuances (class, race, sexuality, gender identity, etc.) in this case.

  3. 01/17/2011 at 8:42 PM

    wmrw.com was hacked tonight, with multiple authors, across multiple prior postings, all dated Jan 17 between 5:58 and 5:59 pm. I’ve reported them to our editors.

    • Craig
      01/17/2011 at 10:01 PM

      gloria – thanks. just a brutal spam attack and a bunch got through. we get like 200/day.

      rich – who hates the chinese here? if you’re say it’s us, that’s slander. what’s on topic or off isn’t up for vote, we make that call. i have no idea what r3 is nor do i care to know. stop wasting our bandwidth.

      Clio – roger casement was new to me. good reach.

      dieter – i’m starting to like you. but not yet. you’re different from the other drive by boys. so mysterious, so far away.

      • Rich
        01/17/2011 at 10:10 PM

        Doug evidently didn’t bring you in the loop on R3.

        We’ve been watching your call on On and Off topic.

        Too soon to apply for a referee job.

  4. Craig
    01/19/2011 at 10:51 AM

    Still not a new media fan? Bernie comments on new media/blogs and tracking cases ahead of trial: “It hurts the potential defendant. The blog poisons any potential jury pool,” said criminal defense lawyer Bernard S. Grimm.”

  5. CDinDC
    01/19/2011 at 12:58 PM

    I’ve browsed around HomocideWatch several times in the past week or so. Difficult to navigate. If they plan on adding a large volume of information, I certainly hope they categorize/alphabetize/any kind of “ize” so that things can be found easily. The more info they add, the more difficult it will be to find things.

  6. Deb
    01/29/2011 at 1:50 PM

    This is pretty compelling as well:


    • susan
      01/29/2011 at 5:02 PM

      Welcome back, Deb.

      Thanks for sharing that. Very sad. Sad when you come across one for a child who is a victim of random gunfired. You don’t want to see one of those.

      The memorial/tribute to Robert Wone is: Robert E. Wone Memorial Trust, c/o Holtzman Vogel PLLC, 98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 53, Warrenton, VA 20186.

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