Arrest Made in 2019 Kennedy Street Fire

Crime Blotter: January 16th


The owner of the Kennedy Street rowhouse where two people died in a fire August 18, 2019, has been arrested and charged with murder.

The US Attorney’s office arrested 61-year-old James G. Walker on Wednesday, Jan. 15 in Baltimore. Walker was the owner of the commercially-zoned row house.

The fire killed two people, 40-year-old Fitsum Kebede and Yafet Solomon. Solomon was nine years old. The two were in the basement and could not get out of the home.

The house had been cited by an Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer as a safety hazard as recently as March of the same year. However, a Washington Post report found that the District Fire Marshal did not investigate. A Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) inspector went to the property but did not pursue the matter after an initial failure to gain entry.

The USAO said in the indictment that while the structure was used as a boarding house, the owner did not have a Certificate of Occupancy. Further, the structure was in violation of several fire safety codes.

Walker is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

In Other News

At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, a man was arrested on the 1700 block of East Capitol Street NE on charges of Assault with Significant Injury.

At 6:37 p.m. Thursday, a woman was arrested on the Unit block of Independence Avenue SE on charges of Driving Under the Influence.

Reporting Illegal Activity

Prompt and detailed reporting of suspicious activities helps prevent crime. If a citizen sees suspicious activity, or any activity that seems out of the ordinary, immediately call 911.

When reporting suspicious activity, give an accurate description. Here are some things to include:

Brief description of the activity;

  • Date, time and location of the activity;
  • Physical identifiers of anyone you observed;
  • Descriptions of vehicles;
  • Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have gone;
  • Your name and contact information.

“As we continue to work with our community in the prevention of crime, we ask that if you see something suspicious you contact us immediately,” says First District Commander Morgan C. Kane, MPA.

The Blotter is based on the reports posted on January 16th and 17td, 2020 by the MPD to the 1D Listserv and 5D Listserv. This report also draws on information provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.