WASHINGTON - A grieving mother gathered friends and family on a Southeast D.C. street corner Monday where they remembered her 21-year-old son. Malik Thomas was found shot to death in a burning car more than two years ago, but there have been no arrests made in the case.
In the bitter cold on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, more than 30 people came together to pray for justice.
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue attended Monday’s gathering and has taken a keen interest in the case after meeting Thomas’ mother, LaShon Holtzclaw, shortly after her son’s murder.
"I have since then, anytime LaShon would like me anywhere, I will be here in part to try to bring attention to bring this perpetrator to justice,” said Donahue.
Donahue's kindness moved Thomas’ mother to tears.
On Sept. 5, 2015, a witness told police that two black men had abducted Thomas at gunpoint outside of a house in Suitland, Maryland. Investigators believe the 21-year-old was held against his will for several hours before being shot and his Hyundai Sonata set on fire.
Police found his body inside the car in the 400 block of Xenia Street in Southeast D.C.
Investigators also identified a suspicious vehicle, a burgundy van, which had been in the area on that night. A surveillance camera captured it being driven slowly along Valley Avenue.
"One moment I saw my son and four hours later he was gone,” said Holtzclaw. “I'm not sure if he was quarreling with anyone. I'm not sure if there was someone who did not just like Malik. I have no idea and that is what is so hurtful.”
Holtzclaw said her son’s body was so badly burned that she had to wait 17 days before he was positively identified.
Now, more than two years later, she continues to push for answers.
"Whoever did this, I want them to know that I will continue to fight for my son,” she said. “I am not a quitter. I am not a quitter and my son meant the world to me.”
As the gathering came to an end and after police posted newly-printed $25,000 reward flyers about Thomas’ case, a friend opened a bag holding dozens of wristbands and began handing them out. They said “Justice for Malik” on them – it is what LaShon Holtzclaw wants most.
If you have any information about this case is asked to contact D.C. police at
202-727-9099. Anonymous information can also be submitted by text message to the police department's text tip line at 50411.