Anger still simmering after another child killed in DC

D.C. police are still looking for the shooter who opened fire and killed a six-year-old girl Friday night. The tragedy left a city brimming with anger all weekend, and it happened on the three-year anniversary of a 10-year-old being gunned down as she ran to an ice cream truck.

Nyiah Courtney, 6, died when a flurry of bullets was unleashed at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Malcolm X avenues in Southeast.

Her mother was among the five people wounded in that shooting outside a liquor and convenience store.

Courtney’s grandmother, Andrea Courtney, told WTOP’s news partner NBC4 “she didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that, especially a child.”

Courtney said her daughter called her as soon as the shooting happened, and that she could hear arriving officers doing everything they could to keep the child alive. She said she hopes the killers are haunted by what they did.

“When they close they eyes, see her,” said Courtney. “When they go to sleep, see her. When they wake up in the morning, I hope her face is there to taunt them.”

Her anger and frustration is shared by others in the city.

D.C. Councilman Trayon White said at a news conference Saturday when he heard about the killing, the first thing he thought about was Makiyah Wilson’s death, which happened on the same day in 2018 while she was running out to buy something from the ice cream man.

“You had to see that little girl, right?” asked White. “There’s no way you bend the corner, you look over there and you don’t see — it wasn’t just one kid out there. It was more than one child. And somehow in that person’s mind, they didn’t care.”

“I’m sick and tired of seeing our babies and our women and our kids and our families in this situation over and over again,” said White.

“Rise up. Because I hear something about the mayor, the councilmember, the police department, it’s all of our problems.”

ANC Commissioner Salim Adofo took to social media to say he and others have been pressuring city leaders to close liquor stores in the community that contribute to the problems. After the shooting, he said one store was closed for 96 hours under Police Chief Robert Contee’s emergency authority, something Adofo said was “a start in the right direction of cleaning this community up.”

White said it’s time for the city to respond to the surge in gun violence with the same energy it responded to the pandemic.

“We’re in a pandemic right now when it comes to this crime in this community,” said White, “and we got to start acting like it.

“This ain’t nothing new for us, it’s been going on far too long. It’s on us to save us. Nobody’s coming to save us, but us.”


John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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