Nyiah Courtney, little girl killed in DC drive-by, laid to rest

Nyiah Courtney
Nyiah Courtney was set to start first grade at Ingenuity Prep School in Southeast, where she attended kindergarten. (Courtesy Ingenuity Prep)

Six-year-old Nyiah Courtney, who was killed in a D.C. drive-by shooting July 16, was laid to rest Wednesday.

During a funeral service at the The Temple of Praise church at 700 Southern Ave. SE., Courtney’s body was visible to all, behind a glass barrier in front of the altar. She was remembered as a bright child who wanted to become a dancer and a firefighter.

“She was our baby, and there’s an old proverb that says that it takes a village to raise a child,” said D.C. Council member Trayon White. “And I just want to go on record to tell you, man, that anytime we’re killing our babies in that village, our village is sick.”

Courtney was killed in a spray of bullets late July 16 as she rode her scooter in front of a carryout in Southeast D.C. Five other people, including her mother, were wounded.

“There was a time when you was a gangster in the street, there’s two things you never bother with: you never bother with women and you never bother with children,” said Pastor Walter L. Staples. “Right now, we’ve got entirely too many punks and suckers that’s running around shooting out of cars.” He repeatedly called D.C. a “bloody city.”



Marktwan Hargraves, 22, of Waldorf, Maryland, is charged with second-degree murder while armed in connection with Courtney’s death.

At a DC Superior Court hearing Wednesday, Hargraves was ordered to remain in jail without bond.

A two-day preliminary hearing is scheduled to start Sept. 23.

Hargraves’ lawyers are battling prosecutors’ attempts to obtain his DNA profile through a saliva sample taken at the jail earlier this month.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano, John Aaron and Jack Moore contributed to this story.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to WTOP.com in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

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