Court docs: Officer was called away minutes before shooting of Davon McNeal

The block in Southeast D.C. on which 11-year-old Davon McNeal was shot and killed on the Fourth of July was the subject of a round-the-clock watch by the police because of another shooting earlier that week. But the officer was put on another call, and two minutes later, the shots that claimed McNeal’s life began.

Two men have been arrested in the shooting, and two more are being sought in McNeal’s death on Cedar Street, in the Cedar Gardens apartment complex. The police offered more details of the deadly shooting in court documents.

Christian Wingfield, 22, of Hillcrest Heights, Maryland, was arrested Friday and charged with premeditated first-degree murder while armed. On Thursday, 18-year-old Daryle Bond, who lived on the block where the shooting happened, was arrested on the same charge.

Marcel Gordon, 25, who lives on the same block, and Carlo General, 19, of Southeast, are still being sought.

The 4200 block of Cedar Street Southeast was ordered to have a 24-hour police presence after a shooting in the same block earlier that week, the police said in court documents.

At about 9:15 p.m. on July Fourth, the officer who was assigned to watch the block was called to assist another officer with “a priority assignment.” Witnesses reported a D.C. police car leaving, with its lights and siren on. The shooting began at 9:17 p.m., the police statement said.

The police said in the documents that the shooting was the result of a long-running gang conflict that has resulted in other shootings in the area.

Two of the four suspects — Bond, who was already arrested, and Gordon, who is still being sought — lived on the block where the shooting happened. Gordon was identified by a witness as being in an Instagram video from the barbecue that also included McNeal.

Both Bond and Wingfield had prior arrests for violent crimes and Wingfield was on court-ordered supervision with a GPS monitor at the time of the crime, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said. Wingfield removed his GPS monitoring bracelet after the shooting and investigators believe he “may have tried to change his identity,” Newsham said.

General and Wingfield were each arrested in the spring, charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and were released pending trial, Newsham said.

When the shooting began after an anti-violence barbecue, some witnesses first thought the sound was from fireworks, the documents said. The D.C. police’s Shotspotter system was turned off for the holiday, presumably because fireworks would have set it off constantly.

McNeal is seen in surveillance footage running along a walkway; the four suspects, whom police say appear to be working together, as well as an unidentified fifth person, are seen in the same spot a minute later, opening fire.

Police said they found a total of 20 casings in the area that they’ve connected to the shooting.

One witness said they saw members of a rival gang coming up an alley that the suspects were firing down, but the police said the video indicates no one was shooting at the suspects.

Some witnesses, including a D.C. firefighter, saw green laser sights, instead of the typical red, in the area during the shooting, and thought the guns were toys. But, as it turns out, the green lasers are a feature in a rap video put on YouTube by Wingfield.

The description of the video said the guns were merely props, but a D.C. police affidavit believes they are real.

McNeal’s mother, Crystal McNeal, is a violence interrupter for one of the contractors working with D.C.’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement. The barbecue was a “peace cookout,” an official from the office has said.

The boy’s grandfather, John Ayala, said he was “full of joy” when police announced the arrest of two of the suspects.

“The police did a great job. The mayor did a great job. The community did a great job,” Ayala said. “Of course, I’m sad, because I lost my grandson.”

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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