The Metropolitan Police Department released video footage Nov. 18 of a person suspected in the Southeast homicide of a 40-year-old woman whose body was found in the woods. Police found the body at about 3 p.m. Nov. 8 when they were called to the 2600 block of Pomeroy Road, SE after receiving reports of a woman unconscious in the woods.
According to police reports, Antina Cindette Pratt, a resident in Southeast D.C., was found in the wooded area near a highway and apartment buildings. Pratt had been stabbed multiple times and died on the scene.
“There have not been any arrests made in this case and it is still under investigation, including motive,” Sean Hickman, an MPD spokesperson, told the AFRO Nov. 27.
The person of interest was captured by nearby surveillance cameras, showing the suspect walking in a parking lot near the apartment buildings. The suspect appears to be wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
Another subject in the surveillance video can be seen walking with the suspect, but Hickman said this person has been blurred out and is not the subject of interest.
Members of the community such as Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Paul Trantham said violent crimes like the murder of Pratt happen too often in Southeast. “Homicides in Southeast are not unusual. As a matter fact you can believe you are going to have at least two to three homicides a week,” Trantham told the AFRO on Nov. 28. He said the crime is continuous, “killing and stealing, and taking people’s money.”
Trantham, a two-term councilmember of the 8B02 region in Ward 8, was on the scene the day of the slaying. He said the family of the victim had been called to the crime scene and were able to identify Pratt by what she was wearing. “They were upset,” he said repeatedly, describing the emotions of Pratt’s family. Police on the scene told Trantham the victim was married and lived nearby in the Barry Farms neighborhood.
Trantham said a lot of the crime stems from guns being easily accessible in the neighborhood.
“Until the city can get a handle on all these guns coming into the city we will keep revisiting this kind of violence,” he said. Trantham also blames drugs for a majority of the robberies and murders. “For drugs they will rob their friend, their mother, just to support a habit.”
According to Trantham, who also works as a private investigator, there are more than 200 unsolved murders in Southeast D.C. According to the MPD website, there are 59 unsolved major case homicides and six unsolved transgender homicides in 2016.
Trantham explained district officers are understaffed and residents are afraid to come forward about crimes. “It’s the lack of visibility and presence of police officers,” he said.
However, poverty and a lack of resources is not an excuse for the amount of violence in the area, according to Trantham. He said young people need to apply themselves more, “It is poverty in our area, but I will no longer buy into they have no jobs available.” He said there are more than 30 new recreational centers in the district, “A lot of local leaders should stop saying they don’t have opportunities.”