Outrage after 1-year-old murdered in Southeast DC

A day after a one-year-old boy was murdered in Southeast, people gathered where it happened, creating a memorial for the child and calling on the community to help solve the case.

“Right now criminals do what they do because they feel people are going to put the shades down, they’re going to lock the doors and they’re not going to say anything,” said John Ayala, who organized the gathering. “But enough of that.”

READ MORE: ‘No words for the sense of loss:’ DC mourns the death of a toddler shot to death

Carmelo Duncan, just 15 months old, was shot and killed in his car seat Wednesday in the 5700 block of Southern Ave.

Carmelo was in the car with his dad and brother around 9:30 p.m. when police say at least two shooters opened fire. Investigators believe the car was targeted and the shooters got away in a dark gray SUV with tinted windows. Carmelo was the only one hit.

The FBI and ATF are assisting in the investigation and there’s $60,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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Ayala and his wife, Wanda, know too well the pain of losing a child to gun violence. Their 11-year-old grandson, Davon McNeal, was murdered over the summer at a July 4th cookout.

Wanda said hearing about Carmelo made her feel like she lost another grandchild.

“The community has to come together,” she said. “If you know anyone that has illegal guns in your house, you need to say something. Forget the word snitching. We don’t do no snitching. They’re taking away the babies, you need to report it, say something.”

READ MORE: After murder of 11-year-old, DC moms forced to relive trauma of losing a child

There have been 187 homicides in D.C. so far this year, a 15-year high and a 20 percent increase over last year.

Chief Peter Newsham has blamed illegal guns for the surge in homicides.

John Ayala said he hoped with Newsham soon leaving the department that a new chief will bring new solutions and action to address gun crimes.

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