City Desk

Bullets Disturb Family Gathering Spot on Euclid

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It's an unusual day at the stoop on 1701 Euclid Street. It's usually a tranquil hangout spot where generations of the Bennett family and their friends relax and socialize. Today, shots were fired. According to Theresa Bennett, who lives at 1701, and who rushed home from dining at a restaurant in Bethesda when someone called her with the news—the shots rang out at about 3:30 p.m.

Bennett says that her son, mother, and niece were out front of the family's deep-red row house when bullets started flying. Two "little boys" on a moped were the culprits, she says.

Bennett rushed back from the restaurant: "I'm sure I got caught on some cameras," she says, referring to D.C.'s infamous red-light cameras. When Bennett arrived home, she found her family members intact. The two bullets fired took one of the house's bricks, but that's all. Bennett says she has no idea why anyone would want to shoot at her family.

Cops on the scene said the two moped-riding shooters fled but were nabbed by police when officers flooded the area following the incident, and that K-9 units were being dispatched to search for a gun.

In 2004, Washington City Paper reporter Jason Cherkis wrote a cover story about the Bennetts and their welcoming (if at times controversial) stoop:

"As most of the neighborhood’s social landmarks have disappeared into memory—the movie theater, the roller-skating rink, the bowling alley, the arcade, the pair of teen centers, the laundromat—the stoop has acquired additional significance. It has become part of civic lore, an accidental institution and sentimental head nod to anyone who ever spent time on Euclid Street."

So what's the Bennett stoop like hours after bullets zinged it? Absolutely full. Though a little tense, to be sure, family and friends gather on it.

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Photos by Darrow Montgomery

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  • http://rickmangus@aol.com Rick Mangus

    This city better get off their ass and put these worthless young shits in jail and into a gas chamber or electric chair and keep this city safe for decent hard working productive tax payers.

    These thugs are stupid and as far as I am concern the police when they catch them, no matter how young might as well put a bullet in there head on the spot, because as we have seen already the liberal courts in this city, let's them go. I am also sick and tired hearing, well he had a single mother and a hard life!, TOUGH SHIT!

  • D

    this is THE WORST April Fools joke the CP has EVER DONE. This is NOT FUNNY! That drug gang has caused how many deaths so far? NOT FUNNY CP!

  • ontarioroader

    This has got to be a joke right? I've lived in the neighborhood over 20 years and that corner has been nothing but an open air drug market the whole damn time. Cherkis' article from '04 is a fantastical work of fiction.

  • D

    OR- It's very sad but from what I understand Cherkis actually believes his big lie. That article was a huge misogynist "Fuck You" to every woman and gay man who was street harassed or beaten up by that family. Jason has never apologized for his anti-women, anti-gay, pro-harassment writing as far as I know. It's his conscience that must hurt him, not mine. I know the CP must need some Glenn Beck-style right wing cranks, but one must wonder why Cherkis chose to be the next Rush Limbaugh.

  • Chris Peterson

    Good job to CPap. Good to see the paper doesn't ignore telling readers news about a story it decided was worth telling, even a few years ago. In some ways the news of this shooting wouldn't be interesting except that the paper made the place, people, and part of life in the city so interesting with its usual superior storytelling abilities.

    Thanks for following the story.

  • WARD4DC

    I thought Miss Jim Graham ran these people away from this neighborhood several years ago. 17th & Euclid Street, NW have been a sore eye for years before gentrification came. I agree with Rick Mangus, I am tired of the liberal progressive left wing legislators sitting in the Wilson Building. I don't know who's the worse, the black or Salvadoran "savages" terrorizing parts of Ward 1 and Ward 4. Send the black "savages" to El Salvador with the illegal alien Salvadorans and MS-13 gang members. I live around this shit daily and I am tire of both worthless pieces of shit. They don't support law and order.

  • Jason Cherkis

    The comments here are disappointing. No. They're worse. They're full of shit.

    There's always been a big difference between the family
    lives on that corner and the loosely affiliated, unorganized, and barely surviving gang that works or used to work that corner. [The crime camera has put a dent in their activities, at least at that spot].

    Every adult Bennett who lives in that house has job and has had job forever. They have lived on Euclid for decades. The big beef residents--mostly new, mostly white--had with the family was that they hung out on their stoop. Hanging out on your stoop is not criminal!

    Prosecutors spent tons of time and resources attempting to find some criminal activity they could connect to the Bennetts. Police raided the house. Prosecutors held meetings with residents and Jim Graham. In the end,, prosecutors believed they could not make a case against the Bennetts.

    The raid produced nothing. All they found was a joint in a purse.

    I remember when I first started reporting on the story, neighbors told me that the house next to 1701 was the big Bennett crack house. That strange men could be seen going in and out of that house. Well, one day I decided to watch the activities. I discovered the men had the day off and we're enjoying a little Madden Football.. No crack. No weed. No drug sales. Just video games.

    For anybody that's new to this stupid and racist controversy, I suggest they read my cover story linked above and ignore the anonymous blowhards in the comment section.

  • Manor

    Any idea if the arrested kids were released right away, or did they remain in custody?

  • Mrs. D

    While the Bennetts may not have been directly participating in any criminal activity, decent, upstanding people do not just ignore criminal and uncivil activity going on feet from their doorstep. Do the other people who live in the apartment building where crack is being dealt in my neighborhood commit crimes? Who knows, but they DO put up with their neighbor's crimes and tacitly endorse it by being friends with them. If they truly cared about the neighborhood, they'd be fighting, along with the rest of the residents, to rid their community of those elements.

    And, at least for now, possessing a joint *IS* a crime.

  • None

    As someone who's lived two blocks away from that corner for almost a decade, I got to say it is not accurate to say people are hanging out on their stoop. I read that article and thought that its description of 17th and Euclid was a little ridiculous.

    The corner is a social scene, and people are often loitering on the sidewalks--not just sitting on their stoops. And there seems to be a basic lack of courtesy. People sometimes won't make room for other people walking on the sidewalks. People are unduly loud. People are profane even when young kids are around. There's often litter, but it's hard to say whether the littering is being done by the people who hang out or by the many people who pass through. These are hardly reasons to engage in racist tirades or to demand police action, but it's a little silly to act like these kids are a bunch of boy scouts. The streets belong to everyone and a little common courtesy is not expecting too much.

    And if these guys are harassing women and gay people, I guess fuck them. (Honestly my wife has never complained, but then again she religiously avoids that corner when alone.)

  • David

    Has the City Paper done its homework on the Bennett house recently? Has Jason Cherkis and Rend Smith ever checked the public records with the DC Police of the activity reported on the activities at this house over the last ten years? I think it is poor journalism that the City Paper and its editors have not done their research and honestly reported the cronology of violence, domestic distrubances, drug dealing, police raids, etc at this location. Is there a reason why the police have a 24/7 camera facing the Bennett front door? Please do some reseach and report the facts. You have a community responsibilty.

  • ontarioroader

    Graham is now stating that a 'young girl' was grazed by a bullet in this incident.

  • http://rickmangus@aol.com Rick Mangus

    ANIMALS!, NOTHING BUT LOW LIFE ANIMALS!

  • D

    Just because you yourself have not seen these people who hang out in front of this house commit real crimes it does not mean it's not happening.

    A good friend of mine, a woman, was attacked by a group of men from that house, men that the City Paper is defending. She was beaten up and sent to the hospital. When the police came the Bennett family refused to identify anyone.

    City Paper employees I have spoken to are afraid of this family and refuse to walk on Euclid St. If Rend Smith asked his own coworkers what they thought then this wouldn't get printed.

    Just because certain people are not "PROCEDURALLY GUILTY" doesn't mean they aren't actually guilty. I have seen crimes committed at this location where the police never showed up. Does that mean that the crimes never happened? If you read only the police reports then you might think that the crimes never happened. I suspect Jason and Rend are not educated enough to recognize the difference between procedural guilt and actual guilt.

  • WHYWHYWHY

    WHAT IS THIS WORLD REALLY COMING TO WHEN WE CANT GET HELP FROM THE LAW ?

  • Sally

    Very lame defense by Cherkis. It would be nice if he spent a fraction of the amount of time on this story as he does on the never-ending Pershing Park obsession.

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  • City Paper sucks

    For years now the City Paper's reporting has been sloppy and lame. Yes we come back to read it because sometimes it's the only outlet covering a particular news item, but competition is growing and now I rarely look at the city paper, in-print or on-line. This story is a really good example of the City Paper's suckiness: covering a story without an iota of historical perspective. I'm sure there are some good Bennett's but it's more than coincidence that this corner has been a haven for crime for decades. Spend any time there and everyone but the City Paper will see ipso and facto.

  • Citizen

    For those people who think they know what they are talking about really have no clue and are ignorant.

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