The death of Omar Sykes, a 22-year-old Howard University student who was the victim of an apparent robbery July 4, has rekindled safety concerns among residents of neighborhoods surrounding the sprawling inner city campus.
“We all want to live in a peaceful and safe community,” said one unidentified resident of the 700 block of Fairmont Street N.W., where Sykes was murdered less than two blocks from the campus on Georgia Avenue, N.W.
Police said Sykes and a friend were approached by two unknown suspects in what police believe was a robbery attempt around 11:30 p.m. He was shot multiple times within a block of where he lived, D.C. police said.
His friend was taken to a local hospital after being pistol whipped where he was treated and released.
The school has labeled the shooting an off-campus eventl.
“Unfortunately, senseless acts of violence are too commonplace in communities around the nation and we must do more to ensure that promising young men and women have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” wrote Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau in a letter to the campus community.
Rapper and actor Common, helped bring national attention to the loss by taking to Twitter.
“If you're in DC, come remember the life of a good young brother Omar Sykes who's life was taken by senseless violence. @projectgiveback @fuzethemc #wemustprotectourbabies” tweeted the Chicago native.
Metropolitan Police Lt. Deborah Pearce, who attended a community meeting to hear what the residents of the area had to say about crime in the area and to also try to create solutions to stop this violence.
A $25,000 reward has been offered for any information to help find the suspects.
“Some people have come forward, but we always need more,” said Pearce.