Police Seek Suspects in Shooting of Buddy Harrison

Local Boxing Figure and Social Activist Shot Saturday Outside His Southeast Home

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Harrison in 2018 with younger kids from the Old School Boxing Gym after giving one a bicycle. “He was so excited,” Harrison said of the child’s reaction. Photo: Buddy Harrison/Old School Boxing

Well-known local boxing figure and community activist Arthur “Buddy” Harrison was shot outside his Hillcrest home Saturday. 

The 62-year-old DC native was shot just before 11:30 a.m. Saturday, September 24. He was pronounced dead at local hospital.  

DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) released a lookout for three suspects. One suspect was seen running northbound on 30th Street. The other two suspects were last seen running eastbound on the 2900 block of Erie Street.

Police are also looking for a white Kia Optima sedan with an Ohio license plate of JAU 3816. 

MPD offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of a person responsible for a homicide in the District. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099. Text anonymous information to the department’s Text Tip Line by sending a text message to 50411.

Harrison was well known in the District and area as a fighter in multiple senses. After serving 10 years on a felony charge for an armed robbery committed when he was 19, he left jail determined to turn his life around. He dedicated the rest of his time to helping others escape the lifestyle that so nearly destroyed him. 

Harrison lived where he had grown up, in the Hillcrest neighborhood. He and his wife also spent time living on Capitol Hill, where he daily attended St. Joseph’s Church.

In 2018, Harrison told a reporter for Capital Community News that after he was released, he found it difficult to be hired with a criminal record. A former boxer himself, Harrison opened his own gym, Old-School Boxing. For years, the gym also provided a storage facility for the shoes, clothing and items Harrison collected for distribution to people in need.  

He spent most weekends distributing clothing, shoes and food to unhoused residents throughout the District. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, he would forgo time with his family during the day to deliver hot meals to the people on the street, many of whom he knew intimately. He set multiple families up in apartments with furniture, dishes and toys.

In 2017, Bishop MacNamara High School (BMHS) honored Harrison by using his image as Station Seven of the school’s Stations of the Cross, “Jesus Falls for the Second Time.” Artist Terry Quinn said that Harrison’s service, his work in the community with youth at Old School Boxing Gym and among the homeless ideally suited him to a piece used for contemplation of the crosses we all bear.

Buddy L. Harrison in front of his likeness which was permanently featured at Bishop MacNamara High School in Station Seven of the school’s Stations of the Cross, “Jesus Falls for the Second Time.” With him is photographer Terry Quinn. Photo: E.O’Gorek/CCN
Terry Quinn, “Jesus Bears the Cross” (2017), photograph for BMHS Stations of the Cross, Station 7. Photo: T. Quinn

Old-school boxing was his own business, But Harrison did not run the facility for profit, at least not financial. He would invite children, teenagers and adults to work out at the gym. For Harrison, it was far more valuable to get young people into a safe place and onto a straight path that any money he could make.  

Harrison was trainer for his son, the boxer Dusty Hernandez Harrison, who was scheduled to return to the ring Oct. 1. “I laced his gloves at two years old,” Harrison wrote in what was evidently his last Facebook post. “I am still lacing his gloves at 28 years old. I thank Jesus for the opportunity to do so.” 

As of Monday morning, more than 400 people have commented on the photo, mourning the loss of Harrison. Many found it difficult to believe that anyone would want to hurt a person who had worked so hard to better the community. “I am truly broken-hearted today as i find one of the few men I looked up to was taken from us all,” one man wrote. 

“What a tragic ending to a life well spent doing God’s work. What a legacy you’ve left behind,” another commented. “God had other plans.” 

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.