DC Mayor Bowser criticized for comments after doctor struck, killed by his stolen vehicle

A MedStar doctor is dead after police say he was struck and killed by his own vehicle that had just been stolen from him in Northwest D.C.

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That MedStar Doctor was identified as 33-year-old Rakesh Patel, of Silver Spring. His parents drove from Ohio to identify his body.

Dr. Rakesh Patel

D.C. police said incident happened little after 8 p.m. Tuesday in the 1800 block of Vernon Street NW. Officers say Patel's vehicle was left running in that area.


A close friend of the victim's girlfriend, Kristine Froeba, told FOX 5 Patel went to drop off a package to his girlfriend that night. The two were hugging goodbye when Froeba said the couple saw Patel's vehicle start to move.

Police say as an unknown suspect entered the Mercedes and drove off east on Vernon St. Patel apparently pursued his stolen car.

Police say Patel was struck by his own vehicle. Cell phone video from that night showed his body laying lifeless on 18th St. NW.


In surveillance video from a nearby business, the stolen Mercedes appears to quickly turn around 18th St. from Vernon St. NW and drive down Florida Ave. NW. The vehicle did not appear to stop.

DC Police

"As you know, there is no more issue for us right now than dealing with people who are committing crimes in our city. And we saw one person – probably didn't intend to kill anybody but did and devastated a family. And we have a lookout for that person. We have a video circulating for two people of interested in fact. So we want people to take a look at that video so we can find the individuals responsible," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday.

This particular Mayor's remark from the Mayor drew criticism online from people accusing the mayor of excusing the crime in this fatal incident.

The day before, D.C. Police released surveillance video showing two people of interest after the victim's vehicle was recovered in another area of Northwest D.C., about 20 minutes north of the Adams Morgan neighborhood. A neighbor who contacted police about the suspicious activity told FOX 5 they saw the suspects of interest cleaning-off the stolen vehicle.

"All people should be safe. If doesn't matter their profession or where they live. So all of our strategies are indeed focused on the people who we think are most violent, but we think a lot – and I don't – this crime yesterday is still under investigation but we do know a lot of the car thefts, thefts from auto and carjackings are related to a different set of people. And those are youth largely. So we're focusing our services and accountability systems on those youth," Mayor Bowser also said on Thursday.

Police have not given any ages for the suspect(s) involved.

Before hearing the Mayor's response, a close friend of the victim's girlfriend told FOX 5 over the phone she wants to see the criminal statue on carjacking changed. Current D.C. law requires a vehicle to be taken by force in order for the auto theft to be classified as a carjacking.

"Professional criminals seizing a running car and violently running over the owner, is murder being classified as a 'Hit and Run' is mind-boggling," said Kristine Froeba. "A gentle soul like Rakesh should've never met such an end. It's nightmarish," she added.

Patel was a Medical Intensive Care Unit fellow at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

A spokesman for the hospital told FOX 5 that after completing his Internal Medicine Residency with MedStar Washington, Patel stayed to complete his Infectious Diseases fellowship. He was currently training as a Critical Care fellow.

"He will be greatly missed by those whose lives he touched. We'll keep Dr. Patel's family and peers in our thoughts and prayers during the days ahead," the MedStar Washington Hospital Center's Spokesperson said in a statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-727-9099 or text the Department's TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.