Approximately 7 miles from our nation's capital, on March 31, 2010, a drive-by shooting took place leaving four people dead and five others wounded. South Capitol Street has seen it's share of violence, as well as the eastern part of Washington, DC.
People were congregated on the front stoop of an apartment building, having just returned from a funeral at about 7:30 p.m. when a silver Chrysler minivan pulled up and shots rang out. Shortly after, a police chase began through Prince George County in Maryland , where it ended in the 700th block of Yuma Street SE. During the chase an AK-47 type weapon was seen thrown from the vehicle and other weapons were recovered inside.
Orlando Carter and Nathaniel Simms, both 26, were arrested when the chase came to a halt. The driver, an alleged 14 year old wasthought to have ran into the Ferebee-Hope Elementary School after a foot chase. However, as police entered the school and encountered "a" 14 year old, he put his hands up, not because he was the one just chased into the school nor had any connection with the drive-by. This young man put his hands up because he absconded from the Juvenile Justice System and thought the police where there to arrest him for that.
Laswaun Washington, a police sergeant, involved with the chase had seen the driver. Once she arrived on the scene, she identified "a" 14 year old as the person who was sitting in the driver's seat, according to a police affidavit filed in DC Superior Court. The two adults arrested were held without bail and the 14 year old was held in juvenile, being that the Family Court judge considered the youth a danger and a risk for fleeing.
The building owner, William Cheek had just walked across the street from the murder scene to purchase lottery tickets when he heard those dreadful shots, that Tuesday night. He saw bodies, lifeless, and his own grandson being one of the victims. According to sources, Cheeks said, "I saw him breathe his last breath. He was shot in the head." Ironically, Cheeks works as a case manager at the local community center dealing with anger management, job training and substance abuse.
Throughout the month of April, the story began to unfold and all 41 charges against the 14 year old , including 4 counts of murder has been dropped. Reason being, authorities have discovered that the 14 year old in custody was misidentified as the teen seen driving the get away van.
Nonetheless, two more arrest have been made in the case in connection to the March 31st drive-by. Robert Bost and Lamar Williams, both 22 are now in police custody.
The 14 year old's name had been published in the Washington Examiner many times during this ordeal. Whereas, most newspapers or medias do not publish a minor's name unless they have been convicted or charged as an adult. Being that this youth was implicated in such a horrific crime, authorities now believed that his life could be in danger and the target of retaliation. The DC Superior Court granted a special order to authorities to release the youth's name this time to clarify his innocence with this statement:
The public disclosure of the respondent as being involved in this crime has publicly labeled him as being involved in a serious crime and potentially compromised his safety. The respondent could face retribution for his perceived role in this offense. In addition, without a full explanation that he was not the driver of the vehicle, there may be speculation that he is a witness for the government. Publicly announcing the dismissal of charges and the reason for the dismissal would clarify the public record as to the respondent's involvement and help ensure the respondent's safety.
There were several factors involved behind dropping all charges:
1. At the school, where a program was taking place, the 14 year old was signed in attendance.
2. Mistaken identity or falsely accused
3. There were finger prints recovered after dusting the van and steering wheel, just not none of this particular youth.
Four Teddy bears were placed on the stoop by friends and family of the deceased. The victims were 17 year old Tavon Nelson, 19 year old William Jones 3rd, 16 year old Brishnell Jones and 18 yer old Devaughn Boyd. All of this is believed to be connected to a senseless beef dating back to March 22, 2010 when Jordan Howe was killed over a gold-colored bracelet belonging to Sanquan Carter, 19,who just so happens to be the brother of Orlando Carter. A witness placed Orlando at ther scene of the Howe murder also and now facing multiple murder charges.
Yesterday, April 22, 2010 was a great day for the 14 year old. However, a cloudy day for the people of Washington, DC and America.
*Many names are not mentioned because this is an ongoing investigation and the survivors are now witnesses to a major crime.*
By: Benjamin Janey