Suspected shooting on the Anacostia interrupts practice
Blair crew's practice schedule was put on pause on Sept. 17, 2014, by an investigation in the Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Filled with police searching for a discarded weapon, a large part of the area – including where crew keeps their boats – was off limits for the public.
Bernadine Sandy, the Program Facility Manager at the park, sent an official email explaining that the area was not closed off for the day. "This message is to inform all rowers that the low profile dock is not accessible today," it read. "The Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police is currently conducting an investigation and the vicinity of the low profile dock is within the crime scene." This dock is also where Blair crew houses and launches its boats.
"When I arrived at Bladensburg Water Park a little before 3 p.m. for crew practice, the area around the entrance to the dock was closed off with yellow tape," said coach Kathleen Landauer. "The only information I got directly from the officers there was that the dock would probably be closed for a while yet. I later heard other people watching the scene say that there had been a shooting the night before." There was also a police diver present, searching around the dock for a discarded weapon.
The Bladensburg Waterfront area has a track record of incidents of violence, one that includes multiple shootings and murders. "I wasn't surprised, actually," said junior Blair rower Aaron Mott. "It's a pretty shady place." However, the incident will not interrupt Blair crew's routine for long. "It was really only one practice that was strongly affected," said Mott.
Coach Landauer predicts no negative impact on the team. "Let me emphasize that no one on the crew was ever in any danger," said Landauer. Mott added, "It's not going to change people's attitudes at all. Everyone's forgotten it already."
As no official report has been issued yet by the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police, there is still some uncertainty as to what actually took place. This has led to speculation in the Blair community, such as the rumors that a man was murdered and that the incident was drug-related. Whatever actually happened, Blair crew has returned to its normal practice schedule, and will compete in all of the season's regattas.
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