Man guns down 13-year-old boy he thought was car vandal; cops won’t release killer’s name

A Washington, D.C. community expressed outrage over the death of Karon Blake, a Brookland Middle School student remembered as a "quiet and inquisitive scholar who loved fashion and football."

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A community is demanding justice after a man in Washington, D.C. — whose name is being withheld by police — gunned down a middle school student he believed was vandalizing cars.

According to NBC News, Metropolitan police found Karon Blake, 13, with apparent gunshot wounds while responding to a call in Northeast Washington D.C. around 4 a.m. on Saturday. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Brookland Middle School Principal Kerry Richardson, in a note to staff, remembered Blake as a “quiet and inquisitive scholar who loved fashion and football.”

Karon Blake
Flowers are secured to a pole as a memorial to Karon Blake, 13, on the corner of Quincy Street NE and Michigan Avenue NE in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Tuesday. Blake was shot and killed on the 1000 block of Quincy Street NE early Saturday morning. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

“We would rather be talking about a 13-year-old going to school today than to talk about him being killed on one of our streets,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday, according to NBC. “If you feel that there is a public safety issue in or around your home, call 911. That is the appropriate thing to do, to call 911.”

According to the police report, a man who lived close by reported hearing noises and “observed someone that appeared to be tampering with vehicles.”

He went outside to investigate and had an “interaction” with Blake that resulted in him shooting the teen with a registered handgun, NBC reported. Neighbors reported hearing four to five gunshots.

“People are making assumptions and searching for people that are not involved,” said Metro Police Chief Robert J. Contee III, NBC reported. “People are making allegations centered around race — and that is wrong.” He maintains releasing the shooter’s identity could hurt the investigation and ultimately serve no purpose.

Three sources with knowledge of the incident, who spoke to The Washington Post under the condition of anonymity, claimed Blake was shot by a government employee.

The unidentified man, who is Black, called Metro Police after the incident and was performing CPR when officers arrived. Police have not arrested the alleged shooter, and he has hired a lawyer.

According to The Post, more than 200 people filled the gym at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center on Tuesday night for a community gathering on the incident, demanding information on the fatal shooting.

“I didn’t know you could get a gun permit and shoot somebody for messing with a car,” Karon’s grandfather Sean Long, 55, told the crowd of supporters. He added that the shooter would’ve been arrested by now if his grandchild was White, The Post reported.

Detectives discovered at least two automobiles damaged in the vicinity of the gunfire and reportedly found a stolen car near the scene, which they believe Blake had used. “Two juvenile males” were said to have been seen running from the street, according to NBC.

The Post shared that there were no reports of the teen being armed. Contee said a weapon was not recovered at his shooting site.

Attendees at the community meeting questioned why the shooter had not been arrested or publicly identified, which some people called insulting.

“We want justice,” said a woman who identified herself as Blake’s aunt, according to NBC. “He’s 13, he was a baby.”

Blake is survived by his mother and three younger siblings.

Detectives are compiling information, and a grand jury will decide if a crime occurred based on facts “and not mere speculation,” said Contee, NBC reported.

Assistant Police Chief Morgan Kane said police have taken possession of the man’s firearm and are collaborating with the U.S. attorney’s office, warning that they risk jeopardizing the case if they rush to court without assembling all necessary evidence.

Area residents and activist organizations made clear this week they’re expecting action.

“Karon Blake was senselessly murdered,” community group D.C. Safety Squad said in a statement, according to NBC. “We are calling on Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Lindsey Appiah to immediately have the name of Karon’s killer and any photo or video evidence collected released.”

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