A Killer and Security Issues (AB 9&10)

Castaneda, Ruben, and Hamil R, Harris. “DECEPTIVE PORTRAIT: ALLEGED KILLER LED A DOUBLE LIFE.” The Washington Post, 11 Dec. 1994. washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1994/12/11/deceptive-portrait-alleged-killer-led-a-double-life/557c3a55-7318-41de-a024-fa2ae7cc49a5/?utm_term=.98bced492187.

Third Floor: Site of the Cold Case Squad Room

In the article “Deceptive Portrait: Alleged Killer Led a Double Life” Ruben Castaneda and Hamil Harris argue that the perpetrator of the 1994 Cold Case Squad shooting, Bennie Lee Lawson Jr., was a complicated person who lived a “double life.” As Castaneda and Harris explain, Lawson, “looked perfectly benign,” the day he killed three law enforcement officers and himself. Contrary to this description, Lawson was anything but harmless. Castaneda and Harris delve further into Lawson’s life as they describe what the police found at his home: “papers espousing violence” and “essays he’d written for an English composition class at the University of the District of Columbia.” As stated in the article, Lawson was associated with a “violent drug crew” and had spent some time in jail a couple years earlier. The article then goes into how Lawson was being questioned by Detective Anthony Brigididi and Captain Lou Hennessy about a recent triple homicide and was clearly triggered by something in the questioning. Castaneda and Harris then go back to explain how Lawson grew up and end with his mother’s and father’s opinions on their son’s actions.

This article is a background source because it gives insight into what Bennie Lee Lawson was like before the shooting. The information in the article can be used to attempt to understand why Lawson did what he did and how he may have been feeling at the time. While the article doesn’t give a full account of what happened or a full history of Lawson, it is still useful since it describes Lawson as a person as well as his activities. I think this source can be used to explain some of the skepticism that people at the police department might have about civilians who enter the headquarters without reason.


Miller, Bill. “HUSBAND OF SLAIN FBI AGENT WINS $1.7 MILLION IN COURT.” The Washington Post, 7 Mar. 1997. washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1997/03/07/husband-of-slain-fbi-agent-wins-17-million-in-court/b4726353-df91-4fc2-a5ef-e5c1cbaf9478/?utm_term=.31314b11d0a2.

Before Security

In the article “Husband of Slain FBI Agent Wins $1.7 Million in Court” Bill Miller argues that the need for security measures in buildings was not taken seriously until the Cold Case Squad shooting in 1994 after the spouse of a slain agent took the issue to court. Miller begins that article by saying the police headquarters had lost a $1.7 million lawsuit and should have “metal detectors and other safeguards” present in the building. Miller continues with the reaction of George Martinez, the suing party and the husband of Martha Dixon Martinez, a victim of the shooting. The article then goes on to give a little background on Mr. and Mrs. Martinez and how the shooting may not have happened had the city not “failed to follow its own security guidebook, which called for sign-in logs, metal detectors and other checkpoints.” Miller continues to discuss the politics of having said security measures and explains how a former officer had complained about lack of security months before Lawson’s attack. The article concludes by explaining how Martha Martinez had always wanted to be a police officer and how she and her husband were recently married. According to Miller, Martha had told George that she was pregnant only hours before she was killed. The article ends with with George Martinez saying, “My wife died a hero… the jury believed the same thing.”


This article is a background source since it provides a reason for there now being metal detectors and other security measures in municipal buildings. The article also give information on some of the people affected by the shooting. Furthermore, the article goes into the fact that there should have been security measures in the building, but they were not taken seriously. I think that this influences security is handled now. When I went to the headquarters, my belongings were searched and I had to go through a metal detector. After I had been walking around for a couple of minutes, the security guards asked me what I was doing there. I think it’s interesting to know what made the police headquarters finally follow protocol with security measures, and this article definitely gives background on that.



Photos taken by author