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David E. Rosenbaum

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David E. Rosenbaum

Posted: 1222342815000
Classification: Obituary
Surnames: Rosenbaum
- New York Times Journalist Robbed & Murdered In Washington, D.C. -

David E. Rosenbaum - Age 63

- Mugged While Taking a Walk in Friendship Heights ! -

- He Was Wearing Headphones and Probably Didn't Hear or See the Assailants ! -

Retired New York Times Journalist and Editor Mugged and Murdered in Washington, D.C.

On Friday, January 6, 2006, at around 9:00 p.m., David E. Rosenbaum, retired New York Times Journalist and Editor, was mugged and murdered in the neighborhood where he lived - Friendship Heights, in Washington, D.C. Witnesses saw a dark-colored, two-door sedan in the area around the time of the mugging. Mr. Rosenbaum was attacked from behind and struck in the head with a blunt object and likely did not hear or see his assailants since he was wearing headphones. The attack took place in the 3800 block of Gramercy, between Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues, close to Reno Road. Mr. Rosenbaum's wallet was taken, and someone tried to use one of his credit cards in southeast Washington, D.C., the next day - Saturday. Southeast D.C. is populated primarily by African Americans. D.C. Police Sergeant Joe Gentile said David Rosenbaum was pronounced dead Sunday night at 7:10 p.m.

The Population of D.C. is over 60% Black. Mr. Rosenbaum worked for the NYT for 35 years before retiring on December 31, 2005. He was well-known by other journalists and politicians alike. The mayor of Washington, D.C., Anthony Williams, reassured Mr. Rosenbaum's widow, Virginia, that the case would be given top priority and would be handled as a "high-profile case." Although he did not give any details, he assured news reporters that the police had many leads that they were following up on.

Mr. Rosenbaum's brother, Marcus D. Rosenbaum, also works in the news media, as a senior editor for National Public Radio. Family members said that his wallet was taken, and that a credit card was used on Saturday in Southeast Washington. Mr. Rosenbaum's brother said the police had talked to the credit card company. If someone tried to use one of Mr. Rosenbaum's credit cards, then, the police have surely talked to the store salespeople who were on duty, and the police must have a description of the individual(s). This means that the police know the race of the individual who tried to use the card. Why don't they inform the public now?

A reward of up to 25-thousand dollars is being offered to anyone who has information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attack.

Anthony A. Williams

Mayor of Washington, D. C.

1999 - 2006

Mayor Anthony Williams assures Mrs. Rosenbaum that this Mugging and Murder will Be Given "Top Priority" and that it will be Handled as a "High Profile Case."

David Rosenbaum, Reporter for Times Who Covered Politics, Dies at 63
Published: January 9, 2006

Washington, Jan. 8 - David E. Rosenbaum, a retired reporter and editor for The New York Times who for more than 35 years wrote about the intersection of politics, economics and government policy with uncommon depth, clarity and a keen eye for the story behind the story, died Sunday. He was 63.

Those who knew David Rosenbaum can share their remembrances of him by sending an e-mail to His death was caused by a brain injury suffered when he was struck in the head and robbed Friday night while walking near his home in Northwest Washington, police officials and his family members said.

Mr. Rosenbaum served at various times as chief Congressional correspondent, chief domestic policy correspondent, chief economics correspondent, assistant news editor and business editor in the Washington bureau of The Times.

For years, he was the specialist of an occasional Times feature called The Fine Print, which dissected hidden, confusing or hypocritical details of legislation that was pending or just passed.

Mr. Rosenbaum joined The Times in 1968 after working at The St. Petersburg Times in Florida, a chain of suburban newspapers in London and Congressional Quarterly, and he worked in the Washington bureau for all but three years in the early 1980's when he was the paper's special projects editor in New York. He retired last month, but kept his old desk, and planned to keep contributing articles to the paper about politics and politicians. ...

Mr. Rosenbaum was born on March 1, 1942, in Miami and grew up in Tampa, Fla., where his father founded a citrus cannery. He received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in 1963 and a master's in journalism from Columbia University in 1965.

For more than 25 years, he was a member of the steering committee of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting the First Amendment and reporters' legal rights.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia, a researcher at the Investor Responsibility Research Center and the author of several books on corporate governance; a daughter, Dorothy, of Bethesda, Md.; a son, Daniel, of Washington; a brother, Marcus, of Washington, a senior editor at National Public Radio; and two grandchildren.

Police Pursue Leads in Journalist's Killing

Published: January 10, 2006

Washington, Jan. 9 - The District of Columbia police said on Monday that the death of David E. Rosenbaum, a recently retired reporter for The New York Times, was being treated as a homicide even before the city's medical examiner made an official declaration.

Those who knew David Rosenbaum can share their remembrances of him by sending an e-mail to

David Rosenbaum, Reporter for Times Who Covered Politics, Dies at 63 (Jan. 9, 2006) Mr. Rosenbaum, 63, died of head injuries Sunday after being assaulted on Friday night near his home in Northwest Washington as he went for a walk after dinner. The police attributed the death to blunt force trauma to the back of his head.

As a cascade of personal and professional tributes reached Mr. Rosenbaum's family and colleagues, Capt. C. V. Morris of the Metropolitan Police Department's Violent Crimes Division said that detectives were following up on "lots of leads" and that robbery might have been a motive. But he declined to discuss any evidence in the case.

Captain Morris said the police were searching for two men who witnesses said they saw inside a dark-colored, two-door sedan in the neighborhood several minutes after Mr. Rosenbaum walked by. He said a witness told the police that the license plate included the numbers 516.

But Captain Morris emphasized that the police had no suspects and that the men in the car were wanted only for questioning. "They're not suspects," he said. "They may have seen something; they may have heard something. We don't know."

Vince Morris, a spokesman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams, said Mr. Williams spoke Monday morning to Mr. Rosenbaum's wife, Virginia, expressing his sympathies. Mr. Morris also said Mr. Williams assured her that "this is a high-profile case that we are following very closely."

Tributes to Mr. Rosenbaum, as well as anger over his killing, came from all across Washington on Monday, from the White House to Capitol Hill and offices in between, from sources, competitors and even strangers who knew Mr. Rosenbaum only by reputation.

Officials of the Bush administration, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and other agencies, as well as members of Congress, expressed their sympathies to colleagues of Mr. Rosenbaum in the Washington bureau of The Times, where he worked for 37 years.

Officials from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which Mr. Rosenbaum served as a member of the steering committee, said they were "shocked and saddened" by his death.

On National Public Radio, Cokie Roberts ended a segment on Congressional doings that put the usual work of Washington in perspective.

"You hear so many scandals out of Washington that you forget the good parts, people who are here working every day to serve the public and to explain the people who are serving the public, and David absolutely did that," Ms. Roberts said. "He was a reporter who covered Congress, public policy, economic policy, made it clear so that voters could make up their own minds about what the policy should be and who they should support. And he did it very, very well for many decades." ...

The assault on Mr. Rosenbaum occurred sometime after 9 p.m. on Friday, shortly after he left his house in an area with a relatively low crime rate. The police said he was wearing a headset and possibly did not hear the approach of his attacker.

Family members said that his wallet was taken, and that a credit card was used on Saturday in Southeast Washington. Mr. Rosenbaum's brother, Marcus D. Rosenbaum, said the police had talked to the credit card company.

Captain Morris, who was imprecise in much of his accounting of events, said the police got a call by 9:20 or 9:30 p.m. Friday. He said he did not know who called or when officers arrived, but when they reached Mr. Rosenbaum, an ambulance was there. He said there was some initial confusion at the scene because medical personnel could not determine whether Mr. Rosenbaum had fallen or had been a crime victim.

Captain Morris said similar assaults had occurred recently in upscale neighborhoods like Mr. Rosenbaum's. In those cases, he said, "all have resulted in arrests or we know who the suspects are."

In general, violent crime has been decreasing in Washington, particularly in the Second District, where Mr. Rosenbaum lived. Police records show that none of the city's 195 homicides in 2005 were committed in the Second District.

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