Friday, September 15, 2006

An Incident That Never Made the News

Shootings in Suitland have become so commonplace that they don't even make the news unless there's something exceptionally grim or novel. I would venture to say that many of them are never solved and those cases just drift into obscurity.

On Wednesday just after lunch I received the following broadcast message to all employees in my agency:

A shooting at the Liquor Store on Suitland Road across from the Suitland Federal Center occurred within the last 30 minutes. You will notice multiple Police and Fire Department activity. Please remain clear of the area. More information will follow as it becomes available. If you witnessed this incident, please contact the Federal Protective Service Police at ...

I immediately imagined a clerk behind the counter bleeding onto the floor, just as the woman at the local florist shop had bled to death in the middle of the day a couple of years ago and my friend Tondrea had died in the crosswalk leading to the liquor store just last year. I assumed that this was yet another murder in Suitland.

When Sandra showed up to collect my trash, she asked me (in Spanish) if I had heard about the incident. She lives in an apartment with her husband and baby just a couple of blocks from the liquor store. She said, "Siempre tengo miedo," admitting that she hated to walk in this neighborhood, always fearing for what was behind her back.

Then yesterday a second message came out:

The shooting which occurred at the Liquor Store on Suitland Road on September 13, 2006 did not involve any government employees or visitors to the Suitland Federal Center. The Prince George's County Police are investigating the incident. The victim is recovering in a local hospital. The Office of Security would like to thank everyone who came forward to report what they witnessed.

What a pleasant surprise that some unnamed victim may actually survive. I have continued to search for any published news on this incident, other than the notification sent to me by our security office. It must not have been deemed newsworthy, because Googling on "Shooting Suitland" nets about 36,000 hits, but none of them references this incident.

Now do you understand why I eat lunch at my desk?


Blogger Richard said...

Shootings are a fairly rare thing in Canada - although, 2 days ago, a gunman went on a shooting spree at Dawson College in Montreal (I studied there in the 80s).

Most shootings in Canada seem to involve gangs (last year was a bumper crop for gang related shootings in Toronto). While frowing up in Montreal, I recall frequent clashes between the Hell's Angels and rival motorcycle gangs - this appears to have quieted down.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I would eat at my desk too. How far does the federal property extend? Maybe the DC cops should come to Savannah, our cops have insituted a great program for problem areas and it is working.

About the bling teeth. People are no longer permanently bonding their teeth with gold, they have inserts made of gold to slip over their teeth. I have seen some that are encrusted with precious stones. I do not know what they are called, but they are like dentures without having dentures.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My name is Lisa Barnett. I was Tondrea's attorney. I have been trying to locate/contact her mother, Malvina Smith, to no avail. In doind so, I found your blog. I truly enjoyed reading your posts about Tondrea and remembering her vibrant personality. At your earliest convenience, would you mind contacting me to discuss the whereabouts of her family? Thank you so much. 202-463-3030.

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