DNC staffer slain in DC remembered as passionate, helpful

Some brought flowers to the vigil Wednesday night for DNC staff member Seth Rich, who was fatally shot in D.C. early Sunday. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Some brought flowers to the vigil Wednesday night for DNC staff member Seth Rich, who was fatally shot in D.C. early Sunday. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie talking to the crowd at the vigil: "This has to stop." (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie talking to the crowd at the vigil: “This has to stop.” (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

A man at the vigil says "this could have happened to me," and urges police to do more. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
A man at the vigil said “this could have happened to me,” and urges police to do more. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Robert Alonso, friend of Seth Rich, says the loss is surreal and shocking. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Robert Alonso, friend of Seth Rich, says the loss is surreal and shocking. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

(1/4)
Some brought flowers to the vigil Wednesday night for DNC staff member Seth Rich, who was fatally shot in D.C. early Sunday. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie talking to the crowd at the vigil: "This has to stop." (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
A man at the vigil says "this could have happened to me," and urges police to do more. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Robert Alonso, friend of Seth Rich, says the loss is surreal and shocking. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON — While walking home early Sunday in D.C’s Bloomingdale neighborhood, a Democratic National Committee staff member was shot and later died.

As police work to find out who did it and why, friends gathered at a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to remember 27-year-old Seth Rich.

“It’s a very surreal, shocking moment right now for me because I lost a very good friend. Somebody who was not only passionate to politics, but if you needed help with anything he was always there to help you,” Robert Alonso told WTOP.

He wants people to know that Rich, who was Voter Expansion Data Director for the DNC, believed in “a greater good.”

“I know he worked specifically with voter rights and voter expansion data, trying to help people — disenfranchised people — to be able to get to the polls and vote,” Alonso said.

Alonso was with Rich Saturday night at Lou’s City Bar in Columbia Heights.

“We were watching the UFC fight mere hours beforehand. I think I was the last person to see him walk off before he went home,” he said.

But Rich never made it.

He was shot around 4 a.m. on Flagler Place NW, just a block or so away from his home on First Street NW. When he was found, police say he still had valuables with him.

At the vigil, friends, neighbors and community leaders lit candles, spoke about Rich and wrote notes to his family.

“Everybody should feel safe when they leave their homes and when they’re walking in their neighborhoods. And right now, residents not only in Bloomingdale but across the city are on edge when they hear these types of stories,” Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie told WTOP.

“This was random, and it was tragic. It’s my hope that the Metropolitan Police Department are going to identify some leads to bring the perpetrators to justice,.”

Police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up