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Police Identify Victim in Pennsylvania Avenue Homicide

Police have identified the man who was killed on the 1300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE Wednesday, May 1.

The deceased is 32-year-old Thomas Carlos Felder of no fixed address.

Police say they believe Felder was killed in a targeted shooting.

Felder died on the median of the 1300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE Wednesday. Witnesses say Felder was pursued by a suspect who shot him multiple times at close range before fleeing south in the direction of the 1200 block of G Street SE.

Residents have been fighting for safety measures in the area for years.

The area has witnessed multiple shootings over the just the past year. In January, bullets struck the window of Trusty’s Full Serve (1420 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) and Manny and Olga’s (1430 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). Fortunately, no-one was reported injured. Two days later, police went to the area of The Roost (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) responding to a CIC ShotSpotter detection of gunshots shortly after 4 a.m.. In 2020, a man was shot outside the McDonald’s on the 1500 block; a 14-year-old was arrested.

Many of the concerns are centered around the Potomac Metro Station itself. On Feb. 1, 2023, 64-year-old Robert Cunningham, a WMATA employee, was tragically shot inside the station; a few months later, a woman was stabbed during a robbery in the ticket hall.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) for the area Matthew LaFortune (6B09) said that neighbors have been concerned with the area for some time. They reached out with their concerns as soon as he took office in Janaury 2023, he said. There have been at least two safety walks over the past year with various city agencies, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Councilmember Charles Allen (D).

“There have been concerns about bus stops in the area,” LaFortune said of his conversations with constituents. “But I think generally in this area what we’re concerned about is it is such a transit hub, it needs to be an area of concern for MPD.”

Broadly, LaFortune said neighbors have asked MPD to be more visibile near the metro station. LaFortune said officers have been engaged and responsive, if reluctant to remain “I’ve seen that periodically,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’ve seen it consistently.’ Officers tell him that they would rather not be stationariy, saying that moving around the community is their preferred way to respond to crime.

Since the Feb. 1, 2023 shooting, the community has been trying get this location marked as a safe passages site by the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME), hoping to ensure a more positive adult presence. Students from the 6 public and public charter schools located in a 6 block radius from the station use transit to get to and from classes, LaFortune said.

More Monitoring

MPD told ANC 6B commissioners they will be installing additional District-monitored CCTV cameras at 11th and G Streets SE, 13th Street and Potomac Avenue SE, on the 1000 block of 12th Street SE, and 11th at C Streets SE.

“MPD has been responsive and engaging, but we have seen less focus on this area from other aspects of the public safety leadership and in the executive,” LaFortune said.

At least six schools are located within a six-block walk of Potomac Avenue Metro Station (700 14th St. SE). Screenshot: Google Maps

In May 2023, a group of neighbors applied for a Building Blocks DC grant  through the Office of Gun Violence Prevention. They planned to create community engagement programs at the Potomac Metro Station Plaza, hoping to activate and use the space more effectively. But the application was denied, LaFortune said.

The Potomac and Pennsylvania Avenue intersection is slated for redevelopment beginning this fall. Plans to improve the Potomac Plaza got off the ground in 2019 but were shelved in the face of the pandemic. Any work at the plaza is unlikely to be considered prior to completion of work on the intersection, LaFortune said.

While Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) presence has been consistent at the station and on the plaza since the February 2023 murder, MTPD officers cannot ride every bus, LaFortune said. He said while gun violence is a problem throughout the city, the neighbors are frustrated that efforts to make progress in the neighborhood are met with a lack of response.

Anyone who has any information about this incident should take no action but call police at (202) 727-9099 or text anonymous photos, video or tips to the Department’s Text Tip Line at 50411.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) currently offers a reward of up to $10,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a violent crime committed in the District of Columbia.

This story has been updated to include comments from Commissioner Matthew LaFortune.

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