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D.C. police search for man who fatally stabbed Wendy K. Martinez

September 19, 2018

D.C. police were searching Wednesday for a man who fatally stabbed a female jogger Tuesday evening in Logan Circle an apparently random attack that has shaken residents and businesses in the Northwest neighborhood.

“I was scared,” said Tommy Wu, manager of the Asian American Chinese and American Food restaurant, where the woman collapsed after being stabbed. “I saw her fall down, and then I see a hole in her neck from the stab wound. My customers were screaming, and there was blood all over her face and neck.”

Wendy K. Martinez, 35, was jogging through the 1400 block of 11th Street NW around 8 p.m., when police say she was attacked. She stumbled into Mr. Wu’s restaurant, where customers provided medical aid to try to save her life. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, said Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham.

A knife was recovered near the crime scene, but Chief Newsham, who was among the first to respond to the scene Tuesday night, declined to describe the weapon believed to have been used in the attack.

Chief Newsham said police are searching for a black male wearing a mustard-colored shirt, dark sweat pants rolled up to his ankle and white sandals with white socks. That description is based on a grainy surveillance video from the Chinese restaurant’s security camera.

The brutal killing is believed to be random, but Chief Newsham said police are exploring other possibilities, including robbery.

“This is one of those types of unsettling instances that sometimes happens in large cities, but it seems like a singular instance,” he said during a Wednesday press conference.

Mr. Wu said Ms. Martinez’s face will be forever etched in his mind. He said he called 911 as his customers pressed on her neck to try to stop the bleeding. It took about three minutes for police to arrive, he said.

Taking even more precautions, Mr. Wu said he brought a mobile camera into his store Wednesday to help cover a blind spot his surveillance equipment had been missing.

“Every year something happens in this neighborhood,” he said. “But you can’t say any place is safe anymore.”

A nearby business owner echoed those sentiments. Thelma Majano, co-owner of Benito’s Place, which sits next door to Mr. Wu’s restaurant, said she is going to install security cameras in response to Tuesday night’s murder.

“A lot of people are surprised about what happened and are going to be more careful,” she said. “I have two teenagers and they love to walk around the neighborhood, but I worry because it is not safe here.”

After the stabbing was reported, police ordered Ms. Majano’s customers to remain in the restaurant from 8 p.m. until they cleared the crime scene around 11:15 p.m.

One woman who works in the Logan Circle neighborhood said she feels safe but only because she carries Mace with her.

“Nowhere is safe,” said the woman, who declined to give her name. “Even where you think its safe is not safe anymore.”

Ms. Martinez worked as chief of staff for FiscalNote, a Washington, D.C.-based software company. On Wednesday, FiscalNote released a statement saying it is “shocked and deeply saddened” to learn of Ms. Martinez’s death.

“Wendy was an invaluable member of our team and a vibrant member of the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Wendy’s family and friends,” the statement said.

Police are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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