WASHINGTON - Authorities have made an arrest and announced charges in the murder of a 6-year-old girl who was gunned down earlier this month in Southeast D.C. in a killing that sent shockwaves through the community.
"I stood before you just over a week ago and said we would get justice for 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney. The prayers of the community have been answered. I’m here to announce today that we’ve got our man," D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said at a press conference.
Contee said police arrested 22-year-old Marktwan Hargraves of Waldorf and charged him with Second Degree Murder while Armed. He was arrested inside of a Southeast D.C. apartment. Contee added that Hargraves was "no stranger to the criminal justice system."
"I would like to recognize the community and all those who called, text, prayed, marched and communicated with our members in order to provide information that helped us bring closure to this senseless act of violence," Contee said.
Contee also announced that the work of the city’s Violence Reduction Unit – which focuses on high impact areas of violence in the District – led to the arrests of 16 individuals who are in custody and face charges of narcotics conspiracy in federal U.S. District Court. Contee said the unit recovered over a dozen firearms, cocaine, heroin and other drugs as part of its operation and said more arrests are expected in the area near where Courtney was murdered.
Contee also confirmed at the press conference that Courtney’s father was one of those indicted in the operation. "We want to make it very clear – you may not always see it. But the investigations are happening and we believe this will make our community safer," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
"Perhaps if they were part of the other programs we have we to offer – you know the jobs, the housing – the other things that people in communities say they want. If we got individuals who are on that track -- maybe Nyiah would be alive today," Contee added.