A Metropolitan Police officer shot and killed GW employee Odetta Emanuel during a botched arrest at the intersection of 49th Place and Blaine Street N.E. at about 8:15 p.m. Thursday night. A plainclothes officer and a murder suspect in the car with Emanuel were also shot and wounded, according to a police statement.
The vehicle Emanuel was driving had been stopped by a plainclothes officer attempting to execute an arrest warrant for her companion, murder suspect William Wade, 26. Two officers responding to a backup call mistook the plainclothes officer, Investigator Joseph Gatling, for an armed suspect and opened fire, wounding both Gatling and Wade and killing Emanuel with a shot to the head, police said in a statement released Friday.
Emanuel, an executive assistant in the Office of Student and Academic Support Services, began working at GW about a year ago. SASS Vice President Robert Chernak said the killing shocked him.
“She was a terrific worker, very nice,” Chernak said. “She would always go out of her way to be helpful.”
Though Chernak said he heard about the shooting on his way into work Friday, he did not know Emanuel was killed until Friday evening.
He said he was concerned when Emanuel did not come in to work Friday morning.
“She was the type of person that if she was not coming into work, she would call,” Chernak said.
Chernak said Emanuel, who lived in the 1100 block of 13th Street N.W., was planning to move back to her home in Minnesota this December to help take care of her ill parents.
“She only was planning to be in the area for about a month. It just makes the story even sadder,” Chernak said.
Student Association President Phil Robinson said he was friends with Emanuel “in and out of the office.”
“She was really outgoing, really student-oriented,” Robinson said. “She was really important to the SA. She let me know what things were being discussed, what the administration’s take was.”
Senior Joshua Hiscock said he got to know Emanuel last summer when she worked for the GW Summer Tour day camp. He said she helped with scheduling and talked to many parents.
“She was a very kind, caring person,” Hiscock said. “She took a great interest in the camp.”
Presidential Administrative Fellow David Burt also worked with Emanuel in the SASS office.
“She was always friendly to all students,” he said.
Burt said he thought there would be more outrage over the circumstances surrounding Emanuel’s death if she had family in the area.
“It is incumbent upon somebody to find out exactly what happened, ” he said.
Wade, the passenger in the car Emanuel was driving, was charged Friday with first degree murder for the Aug. 7 shooting of Thiery Jocelyn Nkol, 27, in Northwest D.C. He was treated and released into police custody by Howard University hospital for a gunshot wound to the shoulder.
Gatling, a member of MPD’s warrant squad, was hit in the thigh after the other officers ordered him to drop his weapon. Gaitling radioed for backup after getting a tip that Wade could be found in a house in the area, according to a Washington Post article.
Officers Kevin Raynor, a three-year veteran of the force, and Antonio Long, who has been with the department for 12 years, fired the shots Thursday. The officers have been placed on routine administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting, according to the police statement.
Chernak said plans for a memorial for Emanuel have yet to be finalized.
“Everyone who had interface with her said what a pleasant lady she was,” Chernak said. “Our regular visitors will miss her.”