Man chases a family at Sherman Circle after telling woman her baby was beautiful

Sherman Circle, looking south toward EL Haynes Elementary in the distance.

According to resident, a man sitting on a bench at Sherman Circle approached her and her young daughter at Sherman Circle on Monday afternoon, March 11th, and then wouldn’t leave them alone, eventually chasing them to EL Haynes for safety.

The woman says that the man approached her and her one-year old daughter, stood close and told her how beautiful her daughter was. The woman thanked the man, and waited to see if he was making conversation, but she felt uncomfortable with how close he was standing to her.

She said he began to repeat over and over how beautiful the little girl was, so the woman picked up her daughter and left with her son and her father, who were also in the Circle. As they walked toward EL Haynes, the man followed the four of them out, getting closer and closer. They told him they would call 911 if he didn’t stop following them.

Upset, the woman left her bike and stroller and ran with her daughter and young son into EL Haynes. Her father spoke to the man, telling him to leave them alone and blocked his way from continuing after the woman and children. The man walked past the father, then turned around and charged back at him.

Security from EL Haynes, a few good Samaritans and her father cornered the man as MPD arrived.

What’s concerning to the woman who made the report is that she says the man was able to walk away from MPD without being questioned by the officers.

“Police let the man WALK AWAY in order to take statements,” she said.

She describes the man as African-American, wearing a black hat and gray and black jacket, somewhere in his 40s.

“I’m not new to this area, homeless people, or attention from strangers, and this was much more threatening than I’ve ever experienced,” she said.

EL Haynes administration confirms the incident occurred around 3:09pm on Monday. They said their security personnel made sure the woman and her children were safe inside elementary school and pursued the man to the 600 block of Allison Street, where MPD arrived.

“Her father was still outside trying to keep the male away from them,” said Joe Callahan, a spokesman for the school. “EL Haynes Security personnel went outside to assist. Security called 911 to the scene of 600 block of Allison Street NW. An MPD officer arrived and Security relayed the details, and he went after the suspect. Security went back to school to get the mom and kids to connect them with MPD, and a police report was filed.”

(Update: According to MPD, there was no crime committed, and only a “miscellaneous report” taken by officers on-scene. MPD did not answer if the man who followed the family was ever questioned, and the mother was not interviewed at the scene. As far as MPD is concerned, the issue is closed.)

There was another incident reported to Petworth News that occured on Tuesday morning around 8:15am at Webster and Georgia Avenue, just a few blocks from Sherman Circle, with a man walking up to a woman with a baby in a front carrier.

“From the bus stop, he said: ‘Hey cutie, nice haircut.’ I ignored him and moved further away,” the second woman told Petworth News. “As the light was getting ready to change, he comes closer and tells me what a cute baby I have. Fortunately, the light changed that instant and I was able to walk away as quickly as possible. When I got to the other side of Georgia, I looked back to see if he was following - luckily he wasn't.”

We have not been able to corroborate that this was related to the incident at Sherman Circle.

“It's unsettling to know someone is accosting families with young children,” the second woman said. “It's one thing for a person to accost a woman on the streets (an unfortunate common occurrence) but it's another to accost a young, innocent child.”

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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