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Police arrest man in fatal stabbing of D.C. runner

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 9/20/2018 Michael Brice-Saddler, Dana Hedgpeth
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A 23-year-old man has been arrested in the Tuesday evening stabbing death of a runner who was attacked near her apartment in the Logan Circle neighborhood.

The suspect was identified as Anthony Marquell Crawford, who police said has an address in Northwest Washington. He was arrested in a park near 14th and Girard Street. Police said he did not cooperate with officers and was injured while taken into custody.

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Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Police Chief Peter Newsham credited the quick arrest to bystanders who gave a detailed description of the attacker’s clothing — including a mustard-colored shirt and rolled up sweatpants — and patrol officers who then located the suspect in the park.

“We feel very confident we have in our custody the person for this murder,” Bowser told reporters on Thursday at the scene of the killing in the 1400 block of 11th Street NW.

The victim, Wendy Martinez, 35, was attacked just before 8 p.m. She staggered into a nearby takeout restaurant, where patrons tried in vain to save her life. An employee at an Internet start-up, she had graduated from Georgetown University with a master of arts in Latin American studies in 2012. She was also an avid runner.

Her mother, Cora Martinez, said her daughter was an ambitious and vibrant young woman. She was working her dream job and got engaged last Wednesday. “She was living the most beautiful moment in her life; it was the happiest last seven days,” Cora Martinez said.

Newsham said on Thursday that detectives have not ascertained a motive in the attack but noted there is no indication Martinez was robbed. He said she had been running west on P Street and was stabbed when she reached the intersection with 11th Street. “There is nothing to suggest a confrontation,” Newsham said. “It looks like it was an unprovoked attack.”

Newsham said investigators are beginning to dive into Crawford’s background. He was living in Northwest, the chief said. He was charged with misdemeanor theft under $100 in Maryland in July, court records show, and that case is pending. Newsham said records show no prior arrests related to violent crime on his record.

“He does have a criminal history,” Newsham said. “We are still going over that to identify the extent of that criminal history. . .When an unexplained brutal attack happens in our city, we do everything we can do to get to the bottom of it, as quickly as we can.. . . We will look very carefully at the suspect’s past to see if there is something to lead to this kind of incident that we could have potentially taken care of.”

The chief and mayor called the attack in one of the fast gentrifying neighborhoods unnerving. Bowser said Martinez’s death is “certainly damaging to al our senses of safety.”

Newsham said it is “unsettling for anyone who lives in the city to see something like this happen.” But, he said, “it is a very isolated instance. We don’t see many crimes like this, even during the course of my career. At the same time, I’m sure that doesn’t bring any level of comfort for the Martinez family.”

After she was stabbed, Wendy Martinez made her way into a Chinese American restaurant. The owner described a frantic scene, saying Martinez approached the counter but could not speak. He said some customers began CPR and other first-aid methods. Newsham said that a nurse was among them.

Police said that a knife was recovered at the scene.

The killing came amid an increase in homicides in the District this year. There have been 109 homicides so far in 2018, compared with 81 at this time last year, a 35 percent increase.

The area around Logan Circle has a relatively low crime rate, with few violent crimes. Most of the incidents in the area involve vehicle break-ins. HANDOUT - Wendy Martinez was stabbed to death in Washington, DC September 18, 2018. (Family photo) © N/A/Family photo HANDOUT - Wendy Martinez was stabbed to death in Washington, DC September 18, 2018. (Family photo)

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