- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2006

D.C. emergency officials investigating the death of retired New York Times journalist David E. Rosenbaum checked satellite data records yesterday to see whether there was an ambulance closer than the one that responded to the fatal beating and robbery.

The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department investigation follows questions about whether the closest available ambulance to Mr. Rosenbaum’s Northwest neighborhood was indeed at Providence Hospital in Northeast.

D.C. Fire spokesman Alan Etter said officials are using Global Positioning System records in the investigation.

Mr. Rosenbaum, 63, was found Friday at about 9 p.m. in the 3800 block of Gramercy Street on a sidewalk near his Friendship Heights home.

The D.C. medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide.

An autopsy released last evening lists the cause of death as blunt-force trauma to the head, D.C. police said.

Emergency medical technicians aboard a firetruck responded within minutes and assessed Mr. Rosenbaum before requesting a basic life support ambulance.

The call was dispatched as a “Bravo” call, the third of four levels of severity, Mr. Etter said. “They did not know that he was a trauma victim at that time.”

An ambulance carrying two other emergency technicians arrived 22 minutes later and took Mr. Rosenbaum to Howard University Hospital, where he died Sunday.

Mr. Etter said it is also not clear why Mr. Rosenbaum was taken to Howard — about five miles away — instead of closer hospitals such as Sibley Memorial and Georgetown University.

The investigation into the handling of the dispatch should be finished within the week, he said.

Capt. C.V. Morris, in charge of the department’s Violent Crimes Branch, told WRC-TV Channel 4 that investigators were making progress in the case. He also said Mr. Rosenbaum was likely attacked from behind and did not hear the attackers approaching because he was wearing headphones to listen to music.

Police issued a lookout for a black, two-door sedan possibly linked to the attack. Mr. Rosenbaum’s wallet was stolen, and family members said they think someone tried to use his credit card Saturday.

Neighbors and pedestrians walking yesterday near the upscale homes and well-manicured lawns around Gramercy Street called the attack “bizarre” and out-of-character for this normally tranquil community.

“The neighborhood is very safe,” said Carol Cramer, 62, who has lived in a house across from the Rosenbaums since 1976. “We’ve had cars stolen and some break-ins, but normally we have not had muggings.”

Diana Eskin, 72, said she walks her dog four times daily in the neighborhood and still feels safe, despite the attack.

“I was just thinking, the last time I knew of anything that happened to anybody in this neighborhood was in 1972,” Mrs. Eskin said yesterday while walking past the crime scene. She called the attack “very unusual.”

Other neighbors questioned why Mr. Rosenbaum was taken to a hospital just blocks from the city’s Northeast border.

“Why would he go to Howard?” asked Bob Tracy, who lives two houses away from the Rosenbaums. “It makes no sense.”

Mr. Tracy, 63, said the attack has forced him to take more precautions.

“We [didnt] lock our door during the daytime,” he said. “No more.”

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