Police said at least two people appeared to have opened fire as the car drove along South Avenue, hitting it 10 times. Carmelo was hit several times, including in the head, police said, and he died at a hospital.
“He was the best baby ever,” said his 28-year-old mother, Takuana Duncan.
Carmelo’s 8-year-old brother was next to him when bullets hit the car and smashed windows shortly after 9:30 p.m. Police said they had found evidence that more than one gun had been used, adding that they said the attackers had targeted the vehicle. tool, but they do not know why.
Dozens of mourners gathered Thursday night in the block where Carmelo was killed. They prayed for his family and other families who had lost loved ones to kill the violence, the coronavirus and social problems. They also demanded an end to such violent attacks and called on witnesses to appear to bring justice to Carmelo̵
“Someone knows something! Someone knows something! Cried the crowd as a procession began on South Avenue.
The youngest child is among the youngest victims of homicides in the District in 2020 and the youngest to have been fatally shot in a year when the shooting brought the number of homicides to 187, the highest in the country’s capital of 15 years ago.
Davon McNeill, 11, was shot dead during a “stop the violence” cooking on July 4, and Malachi Lukes, 13, was shot dead walking with friends to play basketball. Police said young children aged 11 months and 2 years were fatally beaten in cases of child abuse in February and April.
“There are simply no words in the outrage we all feel,” Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) told a news conference on Thursday, adding: “We are all sick of the heinous crimes in our city” and the devastation and pain that weapons are causing in our city. “
Other cities in the country have seen similar jumps in homicides and shootings, including New York and St. Louis, where homicides rose about 37 percent this year, and Philadelphia, where they jumped nearly 40 percent. Similarly, there is a 42 percent increase in Atlanta. Officials cited pandemic stress and strained relations between police and patrolling communities as some of the reasons for the increase in violence.
There were no arrests in Carmelo’s murder as of Thursday afternoon. The FBI and ATF are helping with the investigation and adding to the reward offered by the city, bringing it to $ 60,000. Authorities were looking for a dark gray SUV with tinted windows spotted moving away from the set on South Avenue, near Central Avenue on the Maryland border.
The shooting took place in the Marshall Heights neighborhood, a wedge-shaped community roughly demarcated by South Avenue, E. Capitol Street and Benning Road. This year, 13 murders were committed in these blocks, eight of them with firearms.
Carmelo was killed on a well-traveled road on a hilly slope that runs past newer three-story duplexes with front yards leading down to Central Avenue, where there is a church and a small shopping area.
Delia Howal, chairwoman of the Marshall Heights Neighborhood Advisory Committee, said “there have been many shootings in our area in the last few days.” She said the shots that hit Carmelo woke her up.
Houseal blames the violence for interruptions caused by the coronavirus – people at home, without work, without money and without opportunities. “These are survival crimes involving people who are traumatized,” she said. “There are a lot of people who are struggling and need support. . . . Many people have been acting out of desperation lately. “
Haumal said the neighborhood was a great place to live, but warned, “I’ve felt less safe in the last few months.”
On Thursday, Carmelo’s family struggled to find out what had happened. Takuana Duncan, who works as a security guard, said only a few words about her son’s death before ending a brief conversation in tears.
The family provided a photo of Carmelo standing at a small table with an open little mouth, dressed in stylish clothes – a shirt with a tie, stone-washed jeans and baby Air Jordan sneakers. He wore a pendant around his neck with a picture of his younger self, a gift from his aunt. In addition to his brother, Carmelo has a 6-year-old sister.
At just over a year old, relatives said he was already chasing the family dog, a Yorkshire poodle named King, around his house in southeastern Washington.
His maternal grandmother, Tiara Duncan, 44, said Carmelo enjoyed her newfound freedom of walking and running and loved to dance to all kinds of music, as long as she had a good rhythm. She described him as an “energetic” child who seemed constantly happy and “always had everyone smiling.”
Tiara Duncan said Carmelo was with his father on Wednesday night while driving to a house on South Avenue to pick up his 8-year-old son. She said they had just left when the shooting took place.
The grandmother said there was a message for the county mayor and police chief: “Take the weapons out of the street.”
This is a statement agreed to by DC Police Chief Peter Newsum. He made targeting illegal firearms a central part of his crime plan, and when asked Thursday about the root cause of the violence in the District, he replied simply: “There are too many illegal firearms in the District of Columbia.
Nyusham, who is leaving DC police over the next few weeks to head the department in Prince William County, Virginia, has expressed disappointment with the growing killings as he ends his 31-year career with DC forces, the last three as chief. He has repeatedly spoken out against the criminal justice system, saying he treats gun crimes too lightly and allows offenders to return to the streets without sufficient punishment.
At the press conference with the mayor, he noticed a picture of Carmelo on the police award poster, his smiling face folded in a winter coat and said: “Look at the picture of this little child, this baby, he had his whole life in front of him. “
Nyusham asks anyone with information to come out and help the police, especially if one of the homes or companies on South Avenue has video surveillance. He said investigators are working with the father for any help he can provide.
“He has just lost a newborn child,” the chief said, adding, “We want to take the time and try to help the family as much as we can.” He added: “I am sure that father and mother want to ensure that the people who were responsible for this will be held accountable.”
According to him, the evidence that more than one pistol was used shows that “at least the vehicle was a target and this was not accidental.”
Moments after the shooting, the young child’s father stopped near Central Avenue. Firefighters and medics with Engine 30 and Medic 30 were on call right on the street, treating a patient for an allergic reaction when they heard the shots and rushed to the rescue.
“They responded heroically,” Newsum said. “They took this child to the hospital as quickly as possible, and unfortunately the result was not what none of us wanted.”
On Thursday night, Ricardo Scott, the radio character known as DJ Rico, led dozens of participants in the march on South Avenue, urging neighbors to leave their homes during the vigil and come out as witnesses.
“You can leave your house to get equipment or go get crab legs. Why can’t you leave your house and show love and support to this family? Said Scott.
Before the march began, activist Javana Hardy carefully wrapped animals around a service post and paused to look at a picture of Carmelo laughing before she continued to build her monument on the block where he was fatally shot.
As Hardy worked, Wanda Ayala tearfully watched the placement of each toy, and the pain of her own loss flowed from her eyes as she wept behind a mask in memory of her grandson Davon, who was killed on July 4.
“Oh God,” Ayala sobbed.
After a few minutes, the two women hugged tightly as Ayala wept not only for her loss but also for the pain of Carmelo’s mother, grandmother, and family. The two encourage each other in their fight to end such a tragedy on the city streets.
“It just has to stop,” Hardy said.
“They’re taking our babies,” Ayala suggested. “I feel like I’ve lost a grandchild. It is not right.”
“We need to get the weapons out of the street,” Hardy said.
“We can’t go on like this,” Ayala said. “We as a community must put an end to this.”
Fenit Nirapil and Julie Tate contributed to this report.