Over 150 community members met at the Newton Market last night at 12th and Newton to remember Raj Patel, who was shot and killed during a botched robbery on Saturday. Lead by priests from St. Anthony’s, a candlelight vigil was held at the market to support the Patel family and support the community at large. I was impressed with the turnout from the surrounding community, with ANC Commissioners Steptoe, Clark and Blair present, as well as Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. and a large number of area businesses (I know that Subway, the Brookland Cafe and Inn, Brookland Grill and others were there. I only know those names by who the speakers recognize, I suspect that there were many others present) and community associations present.
Mr. Patel’s son, nephew and brother were present, and have asked that any further donations not be made to the family, but rather to Brookland causes, businesses and churches. Mr. Patel’s nephew explained that while the donations were generous and welcome, that the family knew that Mr. Patel would have wanted that money to go to the people who would need it this holiday season within the Brookland community.
I was disappointed at the lack of representation from MPD, who did not send anyone to the event. I received an email from Commander Greene of the Fifth District last night who said that they had not been made aware of the vigil, and had they known, they would have sent someone to attend and speak to the group, but that they were unaware. Given the large number of posts on area listserves, as well as flyers throughout the neighborhood announcing the event, I find it troubling they were not organically aware of the event, and would have needed an invite.
MPD has yet to issue further guidance to the community concerning the killers.