DC police chief calls inaccurate information swirling over shooting of 13-year-old ‘reckless’

A man shoot and killed 13-year-old Karon Blake in the District’s Brookland neighborhood on Saturday morning.(Courtesy NBC Washington)
A man shoot and killed 13-year-old Karon Blake in the District’s Brookland neighborhood on Saturday morning. (Courtesy NBC Washington)

Hours before a scheduled community meeting, the head of D.C. police gave an impassioned statement to address what he called the “spreading of inaccurate information” surrounding the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy accused of breaking into a car.

“There has been too much misinformation swirling around this incident. Too many people have made assumptions about this case, and it is unfair to the grieving family. Spreading of inaccurate information is dangerous, reckless, and has the potential to adversely impact the investigation and the relationships in our community,” D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said during a news conference on Tuesday.

Karon Blake, of Northeast, was shot and killed on Saturday on the 1000 block of Quincy Street. According to D.C. police, a man confronted Blake after he had allegedly witnessed him break into a car before shooting and killing the teen.

Police have not released the name of the man who fired the gun, but Contee said that he was an African American man, and “he is not law enforcement.” Contee said the man also has a license to carry a concealed weapon and a firearm registered with his home. Police said that no weapons have been recovered thus far.

Ward 5 Council member Zachary Parker said in a statement Monday that neighbors deserve to know more about the circumstances leading up to the shooting.

“No car or material possession is worth a life — under any circumstances,” Parker said. “I join Ward 5 residents in calling on the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold accountable the individual who took Karon’s life.”

Contee said that police typically do not identify people unless there’s a warrant in hand for that person or unless they are trying to identify someone. “That is not what we’re dealing with,” he said.

Contee said that what happened should not divide the community, adding that there are people “demonizing both sides, and we don’t even know all the facts.” He said some members of the community were also canvassing for suspects and rushing to judgment, and he referred to social media images that he said showed people who have no connection to this case.

“People are making assumptions and searching for people that are not involved. People are making allegations centered around race. And that is wrong,” Contee said.

The chief emphasized the process that police have to undertake when it comes to the case.

“We’re going to get this right; we’re going to do it the right way. And we’re not going to be influenced because of some people who think that this should have happened or that should have happened,” Contee said.

At a news conference on Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was saddened by the shooting that took Blake’s life.

“We would rather be talking about a 13-year-old going to school today than to talk about him being killed on one of our streets,” Bowser said. “I know that MPD is working on this investigation, and it’s ongoing and they are in consultation with the United States Attorney.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said Tuesday it is “thoroughly investigating this matter.”

“The investigation into Karon Blake’s tragic death is ongoing. As with any pending matter, it would be improper and imprudent to comment any further at this time,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. said in a statement.

Police said officers found Blake at the scene with gunshot wounds as the homeowner who shot the teen performed CPR.

Blake was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.

According to WTOP’s news partner NBC Washington, two young boys were allegedly seen running away from the scene, and neighbors said they heard four to five gunshots during the incident.

The homeowner cooperated with investigators, police said.

NBC Washington reported that Blake went to Brookland Middle School. Principal Kerry Richardson sent an email to the school’s staff, calling Blake a “quiet and inquisitive scholar who loved fashion and football.”

WTOP’s Dana Sukontarak contributed to this report.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Hugh Garbrick

Hugh graduated from the University of Maryland’s journalism college in 2020. While studying, he interned at the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, a local paper in Seattle, and reported for the school’s Capital News Service. Hugh is a lifelong MoCo resident, and has listened to the local radio quite a bit.

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