DC police identify 15-year-old shot and killed after ‘Moechella’ event

The 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed Sunday night near the site of an event known as “Moechella” has been identified as Northwest D.C. resident Chase Poole.

D.C. police said detectives are still canvassing the scene of the shooting near 14th and U streets, where gunfire broke out Sunday night just after the Juneteenth celebration. A D.C. police officer and two others were also hurt in the shooting.

Hundreds of people were gathered near the intersection of 14th and U for the free music event, which police said did not have a permit. Multiple weapons were found in the area of the event, and officers recovered a handgun from one of the victims, police said.

Moechella organizers said in a statement Monday that they don’t condone violence, and that the event is built on the foundation of peace.

As police continue to investigate the shooting, including a motive, the union representing D.C. police officers and some members of the D.C. Council remain at odds over how to curb gun violence in the District.

D.C. Council member Brianne Nadeau, who represents the area where the shooting happened, said the number of guns on D.C. streets needs to come down to prevent these types of shootings.

“Unfortunately MPD and FEMS presence on site were not a deterrent,” Nadeau said on Twitter. “I will continue to emphasize this — the continued availability of firearms cannot be tolerated, and we must continue our work to get guns off the streets.”

But the D.C. Police Union pointed the finger at Nadeau and others on the D.C. Council.

The union said that in Ward 1, homicides are up 133% this year and robberies are up 136%. It also said that in Ward 3, robberies are up 53%. One of the root causes, the union said, is the council’s “reactionary implementation of police ‘reform’ measures the consequences of which were not properly considered.”

“Since the passage of the D.C. Council’s so-called ’emergency police reform’ legislation in June of 2020, over 500 police officers have separated from MPD,” the union said in a statement. “Most of the police officers who have left cited the Council’s treatment of law enforcement.”

The council’s approach to policing going forward could be decided by the results of Tuesday’s primary election. In Ward 1, Nadeau is running against former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary, who’s also been critical of the council’s approach to law enforcement.

In a statement following Sunday’s shooting, Czapary said the path forward is clear.

“It is time we get serious about prosecuting those who put us all at risk through the use of illegal firearms,” he said. “… I will work to ensure MPD has the investigatory capacity to build strong cases against the most violent offenders.”

Sabel Harris — who is also running for the Ward 1 seat — is the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the area of 14th and U streets. She said a variety of factors — ranging from the pandemic to the economy — have people on edge.

“Anyone pinning this on Moechella itself or pinning it on an important day like Juneteenth is absolutely wrong,” she said. “This happened likely from, based on what I know, from a personal dispute, which we’re seeing a lot of these around the gun violence in D.C., and the only way to really combat those is to reach people with the resources that they need.”

During the pandemic, she said, people were stripped away from their homes, jobs and families, and people built up a sense of desperation.

“When you’re already at that brink … what do you have to lose?” she said. “That moment, I’m sure, whatever happened, set that person off and resulted in a violent altercation, which then resulted in a 15-year-old dying who had so much more life to live, and I think we need to address those systemic issues to see a reduction in the violence.”

WTOP’s Mike Murillo and Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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