D.C. police are seeking help from the public in identifying as many as eight suspects reportedly involved in the abduction and sexual assault of an adult male victim in Columbia Heights on Friday evening, July 31.
A statement released by police says that at approximately 8 p.m. on July 31 one of the suspects approached the victim near the intersection of 14th Street and Parkwood Place, N.W., and forced him at gunpoint into a white van.
A police incident report obtained by the Washington Blade says the same suspect and as many as seven other suspects “drove him around” in the van.
According to the report, the victim told police that while inside the van “Suspect 1 through Suspect 5 anally sexually assaulted him against his will and without his consent.”
The separate statement released by police on Aug. 2 says the incident has been listed as a first-degree sexual assault while armed (gun) and a kidnapping.
It describes the suspect believed to have forced the victim into the van as a Hispanic male, 6 feet one inch to 6 feet two inches tall, between 22 and 27 years of age with a slim build and short black curly hair, and armed with a gun.
A second suspect is described as an “unknown male, heavy set, 17 to 19 years of age” and having a light complexion.
The police incident report made available to the public identifies the victim only as being a white male of “Hispanic origin.”
A box on the incident report that asks the reporting officer whether the incident is a “suspected hate crime” was left blank. The reporting officer, Det. Douglas J. Carlson of the department’s Sexual Assault Unit, wrote the word “none” in a separate box that says, “Describe injury.”
A police source familiar with how police incident reports are prepared said the hate crime box is left blank when investigators don’t have sufficient evidence that an incident was a possible hate crime at the time the report was made. That assessment could change at any time during the course of an investigation as new evidence surfaces, the source said.
Neither the police statement nor the incident report discloses the victim’s age or whether he identifies as gay, straight, bisexual or transgender.
The area surrounding the 14th Street and Parkwood Place intersection, where the victim was abducted, includes numerous shops and restaurants that cater mostly to a Latino clientele.
Police are asking anyone who has information that might be helpful to their investigation into the incident to call police at 202-727-9099. The police statement says an award of up to $1,000 is being offered for tips that lead to an arrest and conviction in the case.