Arrest made in killing of 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney

D.C. police chief Robert Contee announced Wednesday that 22-year-old Marktwan Hargraves, of Waldorf, Maryland, was arrested in connection with the shooting that killed 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney and injured four others.

“I stood before you just over a week ago and said we would get justice for 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney,” Contee said. “The prayers of the community have been answered: I’m here to announce today that we’ve got our man.”

Additionally, 13 people were indicted in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics, and Contee said their actions helped to create the violent conditions that led to Nyiah’s death.

“They bear — in part — responsibility for this 6-year-old that we’ve lost in our community,” Contee said. “But for the illegal activities in that area, perhaps they would (have) not been targets. Perhaps if they were part of the other (community) programs that we have to offer … if we got individuals who are on that track, maybe Nyiah would be alive today.”

Contee confirmed that Nyiah’s father was among those indicted in the conspiracy. He was wounded in the same shooting that claimed Nyiah’s life, but was released from the hospital and placed in custody the following day.

Police are still searching for an additional suspect indicted in the conspiracy.

“I will say this to that individual: We got your guns, we got your drugs, we’ve taken your cars, we’ve got your friends — now we’re coming for you,” Contee said.

Nyiah was shot and killed while riding her scooter alongside her mother, who also was wounded in the shooting.

Three men and another woman were injured on Friday, July 16, when police say they were sprayed with bullets in the area of Malcom X and MLK Jr. avenues in Congress Heights.

Her killing enraged the community, including Contee.

Contee called for increased cooperation between the community, D.C. courts and the police department to keep violent criminals out off the streets.

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Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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