WikiLeaks offers $20K for info on DNC staffer’s killing


WikiLeaks announced Tuesday on Twitter that it is offering $20,000 for information leading to a conviction in last month’s shooting death of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich.

{mosads}Police say Rich, 27, was shot multiple times at around 4:19 a.m. Sunday, July 10, while walking to his apartment in the Northwest Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Bloomingdale.

At the time, police say they believed Rich could have been killed in an attempted robbery, though nothing was stolen.

The WikiLeaks announcement, however, appears to be related to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that Rich’s death could have been politically motivated.

Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange seemed to suggest during a Dutch TV interview on Tuesday that Rich was the source of the leak of DNC officials’ emails.

“Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. As a 27 year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington,” he told Nieuwsuur.

“I’m suggesting that our sources take risks.”

When pressed, however, Assange said Wikileaks does not comment on who its sources are.

“We have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States,” he added.

WikiLeaks is offering the reward more than two weeks after the group published thousands of internal DNC emails on the eve of the party’s national convention, which caused an uproar among supporters of Bernie Sanders and forced Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down.

The anti-secrecy organization has been accused of having an agenda against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has long been a target of conspiracy theories related to the death of onetime White House aide Vince Foster.

Police in Washington have been tight-lipped about the Rich investigation but have suggested they believed the crime was a robbery.

Just last week, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was possible that Rich was killed in an attempted robbery. She spoke at an event with Rich’s mother, and both made a plea for tips that might help solve the case.

There have been 77 homicides in Washington in 2016, though Rich’s death is the only one recorded in the last year within 1,500 feet of where he was killed.

Fifty-one violent crimes have been recorded by D.C. police in that area in the last year, however, including 19 robberies with guns and 10 assaults with a dangerous weapon, according to the police crime map. 

After Rich’s killing, neighbors told Fox 5 that violence in the area had recently spiked, especially in a nearby construction zone.

One Howard University student said he had been the victim of an armed robbery just a week before Rich’s death, according to the Fox 5 report.

“I was walking through this construction area, and as soon as I got into the construction area, there was a spotter that walked past me on my left,” Brandon Alexander told the television station. “As soon as he passed me on my left, the shooter came out of basically the construction area with a gun, put it to my face and basically took everything I had.”

D.C. police are offering their own $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the shooting death of the DNC staffer.

Police said in a press release at the time that patrols heard gunshots around 4:20 a.m. and found Rich suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead later that morning.

–This report was updated on Aug. 10 at 10:41 a.m.

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