The year was 1993. Spring had come to Washington and the cherry blossoms were blooming, but residents of Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights were on edge. For over a month, a gunman had been on the loose in their neighborhood, targeting pedestrians with a pump action shotgun. By the middle of April, the assailant – who was dubbed the “Shotgun Stalker” by local media outlets – had been linked to nine shootings, three of which were fatal.
Each incident was eerily similar: the stalker cruised the neighborhood in his car after dark, isolated a pedestrian and then fired at the person’s head. But yet it was all so… random. The victims varied in age, sex, ethnicity and occupation – there was no logic. After pulling the trigger the gunman would disappear, seemingly into thin air.
As the world mourns the passing of actor-comedian Robin Williams, we thought we'd turn back the clock to happier times.
In May of 1996, the Democratic National Committee invited Williams to D.C. to perform at a party fundraiser at the old Washington Convention Center. The event was scheduled for Wednesday, May 8, but Mork came to town a day early. After dinner with Vice President Gore, the comedian made his way over to the D.C. Improv on Connecticut Ave. where he surprised the audience -- and perhaps the previously scheduled acts -- with a late-night stand up routine. As would-be headliner Tom Kenny said jokingly, movie star Williams "got off his big bag of money" to swing by the club and get some attention from a real, live audience.
This year's FIFA World Cup has produced some exciting matches. But one of the most thrilling goals in World Cup history actually was scored at Washington's RFK Stadium back in 1994, when the U.S. hosted the global tournament for the first time ever.
Nelson Mandela, who died December 5, 2013, was mourned worldwide as the leader who beat Apartheid and then worked to promote reconciliation and racial tolerance in South Africa. But 23 years ago, just months after he was freed from a South African prison, Mandela created a sensation--and some tense, discomforting moments--when he visited the U.S. and met with then-President George H. W. Bush at the White House.
Rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed, who died on October 27, 2013 at age 71, is best known as a lyrical chronicler of New York City's debached avant garde subculture of the 1960s, a time when his band, the Velvet Underground, provided the soundtrack for artist Andy Warhol's druggy, gender-bending milieu.
But Reed also could claim an intriguing distinction in the musical history of the nation's capital. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee once was called upon to provide musical entertainment at the White House, at the request of a visiting foreign head of state.
Lewis Powell, the would-be assassin of Secretary of State William H. Seward, was prone to goof-ups. You might even say he had the tendency to lose his head.
As you know from our previous post, Powell was one of the co-conspirators in the Lincoln assassination plot. After his bloody rampage in the Seward home, Powell was tried and hanged along with three other conspirators on July 7, 1865. That should have been the end of the story, but it took over one hundred years for Powell's tale to come to an end.