Bowser calls July Fourth death of 11-year-old boy ‘unimaginable tragedy’

Davon McNeal, 11, was shot and killed on Saturday, July 4, 2020. (WTOP collage via D.C. government/John Ayala)

The death of 11-year-old Davon McNeal, who was shot and killed in Southeast D.C. on the night of the Fourth of July after a community cookout, has officials “saddened and outraged,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a briefing Monday.

“This is just an unimaginable tragedy for any family to go through. And I know that Davon and his family in this moment of grief want to make sure that another family doesn’t suffer this tragic loss,” Bowser said.

She urged people to contact D.C. police if they have any information about the shooting that killed McNeal, either by anonymously texting 50411 or calling (202) 727-9099.

Around 9:20 p.m. Saturday, officers were flagged down in the 1400 block of Cedar Street Southeast, D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham said at the Monday briefing. McNeal was lying just outside his home, in his mother’s arms, with a fatal gunshot wound, Newsham said.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to hold your 11-year-old son in your arms as he’s losing his life,” Newsham added.

McNeal’s mother is a violence interrupter for one of the contractors working with D.C.’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, Bowser said. Executive Director Delbert “Del” McFadden added that his mother is “really dedicated” to the Cedar Gardens community.

“A lot of people are mourning right now because of the death of this young man who had so much potential,” said McFadden, who met with the 11-year-old shortly before the shooting.

McNeal attended Kramer Middle School in Southeast D.C. and played football.

The shooting happened after a peace cookout, organized by McNeal’s mother, for a small group, with at least 20 kids in attendance, Newsham said. McNeal was apparently helping his mother with the peace cookout, McFadden said.

“This should not have happened, and it cannot keep happening. We can’t keep losing our children to senseless gun violence,” Bowser said.

Newsham added, “We have made significant progress [in the investigation]. We intend to hold all of the suspects that are responsible for this little boy’s death accountable for their actions.”

There is a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case, Bowser said.

Newsham also mentioned two other fatal Southeast D.C. shootings over the holiday weekend, including the killing of a 20-year-old woman Friday night, and a man’s death late Saturday night.

WTOP’s Jose Umana and Thomas Robertson contributed to this report. 

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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