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Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East


Uzi submachine guns come in various models, including mini and micro. This one is a Model B conversion with .22 kit. Photo by Cortland via Wikipedia.

I just got off the phone with Sergeant Robert Lachance, Public Information Officer at National Capital Parks-East. This item he submitted for the NPS Morning Report had caught my attention:

Officers Scott Brecht and Jason Omo were on patrol of River Terrace [a picnic area in Anacostia Park ], just after 1 a.m. on August 21st to check into complaints of illegal activities there from park neighbors. They came upon two people in the park’s playground area. Evidence indicated that they were involved in illicit behavior. The pair then began walking in the direction of the officers. The officers checked them out, then discovered an Uzi submachine gun in the place they’d just left. The weapon was loaded and the selector switch was set to full auto. Both were arrested and charged with weapon offenses and other violations.

Officer Lachance explained that even in the context of National Capital Parks-East, where dealing with weapons violations is a far from rare occurrence, this particular one was pretty unusual. Why these two men toted such potent ordnance into a park playground in the middle of the night is apparently not yet a matter of public record. However, it seems likely that the arrest of this pair and the seizure of the Uzi averted a potentially lethal incident.

The PIO added that this incident is an example (albeit extreme) of the kind of work that Park Police officers are compelled to do in National Capital Parks-East. The various urban parks in this unit of National Capital Parks contain numerous playgrounds, picnic areas, athletic fields, and other facilities nestled within or very close to residential neighborhoods. Much effort is put into community relations and making people aware that the Park Police, which functions pretty much the way a regular police force does, is there “to serve and protect.”


Hail to the NRA! Seig Heil!
The Republicans gotta love this guy.
Good job, America!

Strange alright ... 'course, had they been in a homicidal frame of mind, they had more than enough firepower to overwhelm the two officers - and escape. They were up to something irregular ... but maybe not a shooting-spree.

Hope we get more info on the case.

And here I thought it was illegal to have firearms in a national park! is against the law. Plus those fully automatic weapons were not legal to possess anywhere. Silly me. Laws only apply to people that follow the law. As this article has stated, the criminals already have the weapons in our parks and the rest of us are left unprotected. Hail to the leftists for empowering these guys!

We need to have reasonable regulations regarding firearms in the parks for those that do follow the law. The total ban we have now is unenforceable. Until we require the complete search of vehicles and persons entering the parks and put large, unscalable walls around them to limit entry, weapons will enter the parks.

Fortunately, these two guys gave up early. Otherwise, the officers and god knows who else could have been toast. Kudos to Officers Brecht and Omo!

The park is in the poorest part of the District of Columbia; the Park Service has its local jail in that area as well. It's a very sad and filthy place - you can't go there without recognizing that racial divisions are alive and well in our country.

It's in an area right along the riverfront, which used to be a Piscataway Indian trading area - but long gone and forgotten by most.

And, thinking of this, one thought comes to mind - if we reduce this discussion about this place to guns and the rights to bear them, then we are severely misunderstanding the story of this place and the people who live there.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World


I do have a strong interest in Native American themes, and have become a much more assertive advocate on their behalf as the 'victors version' of history has worn thin for me. I may well look into the native context that you bring up.

However, this is not a story about Natives: It's a weapons-offense story that happens to have occurred on former Indian territory ... a circumstance that would apply equally to all the rest of North American as well.

This story is indeed closely germane to 2nd Amendment themes - which are currently before our Nation and the National Parks constituency as rarely before - and is not an Indian-story.

The "story of this place" may well be interesting & important, but it's a different topic.

Is there any reason why the city parks of D.C. are in the jurisdaiction of the NPS and their Park Police? Give them to the City then there is one police force, who knows the parks as part of the neighborhoods. Not two with experience in the either the parks or the residential areas. This split jurisdiction seems to me as a nightmare from the point of law enforcement.

And who would believe the city parks are managed according to the Organic Act anyway.

I'm not talking about Piscataways except in an ironic sense. The issue is Anacostia, poverty, racism, a place that has been left behind, and the world that has grown up around this depressed place. It's only irony that allows this to be called a national park at all, although there's something green about it in the stench of the air.

That this story is the same as the story of the place that came long before is simply just ironic.

And, that people think this can be simply a story of people defending themselves and gun rights and crime entirely misses the point ... a story like this that becomes a discussion of that is lost in the abstraction of the ideological discussion. The people in this downtrodden, heavily African American area where things like this are regular occurrences inside and outside the park cannot be allowed to become another general conversation about guns and self defense.

When people think of Washington, DC, they think of government and Constitution and aloofness from the rest of the world; unfortunately, the country is aloof to the human stories of this city. In a place like DC, whose gun laws were recently struck down by the Supreme Court, a city whose people will always be close to my heart, making this another abstract discussion about parks and guns (fueled by a practical instance), really only exacerbates the colonial status that the city still labors under and these people most of all. What I mean by that is that colonialism is exacerbated by the discussion because the event mentioned in this park unit is essentially neither a park story nor really a gun story; to discuss this story as though it is blinds us to the lack of voice that the people in DC have and perhaps the people of Anacostia have most of all (the Indian reference was a veiled reference to that).

Submachine guns and crime are mainstays of a city with such wealth. You don't walk through the streets of DC as a resident without being consciously aware of it - whether you are inside or outside of the parks. And, you notice race, and you notice where people live and don't live, where they walk and where they don't walk. Anacostia is perhaps the most extreme example of the DC experience, and a unit managed by the national parks in Anacostia is almost irrelevant to what happened. So too is any discussion about the merits of the 2nd Amendment; with or without it, the same condition is there. With or without extreme gun laws, with or without those parks - and if people don't stop and look at that instead of going right at the same pat discussion that is so common here on this site - then they will totally miss what happened and why east of the river.

Free DC,
Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

Eloquent and spot on. I am interested in solutions. Any ideas?

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