DC teen’s murder brings violence against the youth back into focus, acting chief says

In the midst of the fallout of the Capitol riot, along with nearly a year of living with the coronavirus pandemic, the shooting death of a D.C. teen should serve as a reminder of the persistent scourge of violence against the city’s youth, Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Police ID 15-year-old shot, killed in Southeast DC; $25K reward offered

"I really just think it speaks to the level of violence that we cannot forget about in our city. We ended last year with homicides occurring in our city last year. And while the media may have been a little distracted by some of the things that have been going on with respect to some of the things that are going on downtown, the inauguration, what happened at the Capitol - we can’t forget about what’s happening in our communities," Contee said.

Fifteen-year-old Jamarid Robinson of Southeast died of a gunshot wound Tuesday night, after he’d been taken to a local hospital.

But his death was just the latest in a string of homicides against young people – many much younger than Robinson.

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During a late-morning news conference, Contee said that while the media may have shifted its focus to incidents of national magnitude, like the Capitol riot, the endemic violence afflicting young the youth can’t be forgotten.

"We still have a real, present, young violence issue her in our city, that has to be addressed, and it’s not just addressed solely by the Metropolitan Police Department. There’s an ecosystem in this community that involves the police department, that involves the community, that involves government agencies," he said.

Before Robinson, the District mourned multiple murders involving the very young – including the shooting death of 1-year-old Carmelo Duncan in December.

READ MORE: Outrage after 1-year-old murdered in Southeast DC

Contee – who is a D.C. native – says that the crisis in violence against the young must be treated with the same urgency as other issues impacting the city that – at first blush – might appear much larger.

"Just like we focused in on COVID and all the other things that are happening in our city, we have to be that much determined when it comes to violent crime. We’re working together to bring an end to the violent crime we’re seeing in our city, especially when it impacts our young people. And life lost, one life is one too many. But when it happens to the youth in our communities – all the things that didn’t happen to this kid or will not happen for this kid’s family going forward," the acting chief said.

Police are still looking for a suspect in Robinson’s death – and they’re offering a $25,000 reward to anyone who has information that leads to the killer’s arrest and conviction.