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Round of Applause: April 2017

Round of ApplauseEach spring, the MPD holds a Department-wide awards ceremony to recognize sworn and civilan members for the outstanding work they do throughout the year. In addition to this annual ceremony, members are also presented with awards throughout the year at the regularly-scheduled crime briefings. In April 2017, the following members were recognized for their exeptional service:


Achievement Medal

April 4, 2017

4D, CST Members Help Capture Suspect Using Social Media to Rob Sellers

On February 5, 2017, a complainant reported that he used the “Offer Up” app to meet a subject in the 200 block of Farragut Street, NW, to purchase an iPhone,
when he was robbed at gunpoint.

The complainant stated that the suspect entered his vehicle, brandished a handgun, and robbed him of approximately $250 in US currency. Officers William Gill and Jose Hernandez of the Fourth District Crime Suppression Team — along with Detective Ryan Savoy — viewed a video of the robbery, and devised a plan to apprehend the suspect. On that same day, the suspect was contacted through the app to purchase an iPhone. Officer Gill posed as a potential buyer and agreed to meet the suspect in the 5900 block of 13th Street, NW.

The Crime Suppression Team strategically positioned themselves in the area. Officers Terence Sutton and Harvy Hinostroza observed the suspect walk up to the location and alerted the other team members. As the suspect noticed the officers, he fled on foot. A foot pursuit ensued and Officers Donnie Washington and Christopher Hyder apprehended the suspect and recovered a firearm. The suspect was charged with two additional armed robberies and a burglary.

Due to the coordinated efforts of these members and their attention to detail, a dangerous suspect was removed from the streets.

CBAwards _040317.jpeg

Achievement Medal

April 7, 2017

1D, SOD Officers Recognized for Nabbing Subject in Two Sexual Assaults

On July 28, 2012, Officers Walter Hawkins and Terrance Nesmith
observed a subject in the 900 block of F Street, NW, who
was suspected of commiting two sexual assaults. The officers working in a plain cloths status made contact with the suspect, identified themselves and asked if they could speak with him. The suspect refused and began to flee. A foot pursuit ensued, and the officers stopped the suspect moments later.

After retrieving the suspect’s identification, a WALES/NCIC check revealed that he was a registered sex offender. While the officers conducted an investigative interview, the suspect stated that he was sorry he ran away, but he was afraid he was about to be robbed. During the interview, the suspect stated that he had come back to the District to find something to drink, but emphasized that he was not looking for alcohol. Additionally, he informed the officers that his vehicle was parked in the 1200 block of E Street, NW. The location of the suspect vehicle raised the officer’s level of suspicion. The officers noted that the suspect was first spotted in the 900
block of F Street, NW., which was four blocks away from his vehicle, and a block from the sexual assaults.

As part of the interview, the suspect claimed that he had not been to the District in a while, maybe months. The officers obtained demographic information on the suspect to include a telephone number and place of employment. Although the suspect was permitted to leave, the officers obtained enough information that led to the identification of the suspect in a photo array. An arrest warrant was obtained, and the suspect was arrested and convicted in both cases.

Due to these officers’ attention to detail and determination to bring the suspect of these heinous crimes to justice, a violent sexual predator was removed from our neighborhood.


Achievement Medal

April 11, 2017

First District Officers Make Stop, Recover Firearm After Suspicious Activity

On November 28, 2016, while assigned to the First District Crime Suppression Team, Officers Michael Fanone and Jeffrey Leslie were walking westbound on H Street, NE, crossing over 13th Street, when they observed a black male subject enter 1248 H Street, NE, at an expedited pace. After he entered the location, Officers Fanone and Leslie could hear a physical altercation taking place inside. The suspect then fled the location holding his waistband with his right hand in a manner consistent with that of concealing a firearm. Officers Fanone and Leslie gave chase, advising Officers Eric Baca and Terrence Welsh, who were nearby, of the description and direction of travel of the fleeing suspect. Officers Baca and Welsh located the suspect and were able to stop him a short time later.

During the stop, the officers recovered a loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, a holster, and $1,000 in US currency that had been taken in the robbery. The suspect was later identified in a show-up with the victim. It was discovered that the suspect had a prior felony conviction and the handgun had been reported stolen. The suspect was charged with robbery gun, felon in possession of a firearm, receiving stolen property, and possession of unregistered ammunition.

It was due to these officers quick thinking and coordinated actions that a dangerous suspect was removed from the streets of the District of Columbia.


Achievement Medal/COP Medal of Merit

April 14, 2017

Teamwork Between MPD, Metro Transit PD Ends with Closure in Sex Assault

On November 26, 2016, a female employee of the Grand Hyatt Hotel was cleaning a guest room, when a subject entered the room, produced a knife and forced her into the bedroom. The suspect demanded that the victim get undressed while he held a knife against her neck. As he started to undress himself, the victim attempted to grab the knife, resulting in a struggle. The victim was able to get away from her assailant, and ran towards the elevators screaming. As a result of this assault, the victim received non-life threatening injuries.

Detective Toni Walls and Sergeant Thomas Smith of the Criminal Investigations Division were assigned to the case. They were able to obtain footage of the suspect from the Grand Hyatt Hotel video surveillance system. The detectives determined that the suspect entered the hotel via the Metro Center station, and contacted Metro Transit Police for assistance. WMATA Detective Aaron France reviewed digital video surveillance footages of the kiosk area, and observed the suspect exiting the fare gates and proceeded towards the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Using the “Hummingbird” database to access all SMARTRIP cards used at the Metro Center station, Detective France was able to track down the SMARTRIP card used by the suspect. Additionally, Detective France was able to determine that the suspect exited at Ballston station at the correlating timeframe, and exiting the fare gate using two different cards. Detective France requested an email update whenever either card was used in the system.

On December 26, 2016, at 1238 hours, Detective France received an email notification that one of the cards had been used to enter the Metro System at the Georgia Avenue Metro Station at 12:32 pm. At 1:17 pm, the card was used at the Landover station in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Detective France, who was off-duty, contacted Metro Transit Sergeant Sean Flinn, who was near the Landover station, and asked him to attempt to stop the suspect. Sergeants Flinn and Salicia Belton responded to the station and conducted an investigatory stop. The suspect was detained by Metro Transit Police until an arrest warrant was secured for his arrest. The suspect
was charged with Assault with Intent to Commit First Degree Sexual Abuse While Armed.

Due to the teamwork demonstrated by both MPD and WMATA members, a dangerous suspect was taken off the streets and rails.


Achievement Medal

April 19, 2017

Second District Officer Brings Closure to ‘Dupont Circle Bike Groper’ Case

During the summer of 2012, the same suspect sexually assaulted several female victims in broad daylight in the Dupont Circle area. This quickly became a high-profile case and the suspect became known in the media as the “Dupont Circle Bike Groper.” The suspect would ride his bicycle up behind his victims and aggressively grope and fondle his victims. In addition, just after several of the assaults, he would turn around and laugh or smile at the victim and then quickly flee the scene on his bicycle. After multiple similar assaults, detectives with the Sexual Assault Unit conducted a thorough investigation. Using surveillance video from multiple sources, the detectives were able to get good footage of the perpetrator before, after, and during several of the assaults. All of the victims gave a very similar lookout for the suspect. However, none of the victims were able to identify the suspect when shown a photograph array. Using this video footage, the detectives created a flyer and contacted Second and Third District officers to be on the lookout for the suspect.

Officer Victor Stevenson observed the suspect riding his bicycle in the same block where two of the assaults occurred. He was wearing seemingly identical articles of clothing and in possession of items see in the  urveillance video. As a result, Officer Stevenson stopped, and identified him. During a non-custodial interview, the suspect confessed to assaulting at least eight women. As a result, detectives obtained an arrest and search warrant for the suspect and his apartment. A search of his apartment, yielded all of the articles and items observed in the surveillance footage. The suspect ultimately pleaded guilty to multiple sexual assault charges and was deported back to Nicaragua.

Due to Officer Stevenson’s keen observation skills, a serial sexual assault suspect was apprehended and removed from the streets.


Achievement Medal/COP Medal of Merit

Narcotics and Special Investigations Division
Det. Erick Alvarado
Det. Phillip Robinson
Det. Vincent Witkowski

ICE/Homeland Security Investigations
Agent Thomas Fowler
Agent Justin Smith

April 26, 2017

NSID, ICE Team Up to Close Down Major Drug Operation Along Benning Road

Members of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and MPD’s Narcotics and Special Investigations Division’s Interdiction Unit, conducted an investigation into an international heroin trafficking organization. This investigation began in 2014 and concluded in June of 2016, and focused on a cell of traffickers related to the main target, a suspect from Nigeria. The suspect had shipments of heroin smuggled into the United States, mainly through US Postal and commercial shipping from sources of supply in India and Africa.

Since the inception of this investigation, over 40 kilograms of heroin, with a street value of over $4,000,000 have been seized. The suspect utilized a network of traffickers in the Washington, DC, area to receive shipments and redistribute the drugs to street level operations, mainly along Benning Road, NE corridor. Additionally, the suspect had additional distribution cells in other US cities.

On June 6, 2016, members of both MPD and ICE executed four search warrants and 12 arrest warrants in Washington, DC, and Prince George’s County, MD. As a result of the warrants, 12 local targets of a significant heroin trafficking organization were apprehended.