Masked teen who shot 15-year-old boy 16 times is sentenced

The story of how a D.C. teen died sounds like a scene from a nightmare.

When Gerald Watson was chased into a stairwell by someone masked and with a gun, the boy banged on his neighbor’s doors for help before he was violently killed. Now the teen who pulled the trigger is 21 years old and facing the consequences.

Within days of 15-year-old Gerald Watson’s killing, police arrested then 16-year-old Marik Holston, who court documents said was known around Hartford Street Southeast as a violent kid.

More than four years later, a jury found Holston guilty of first-degree murder in November 2022 and Judge Rainey R. Brandt sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

When a dispute between neighborhoods grew to a fever, court documents said Holston made it known he was looking for Watson.

On Dec. 13, 2018, Watson was on his way to play basketball when two young men wearing masks chased him into his apartment building on Knox Place in Southeast. He begged neighbors for help and to open their door before they heard a slew of gunshots, the documents said. Police found the Anacostia High School freshman dying in the stairwell.

Police later said Holston used a .40 caliber revolver to shoot Watson 16 times. The two who had chased Watson both fled the scene. Watson died at the hospital.

Officers arrested Holston on Dec. 18, 2018, identifying him in part by his signature Helly Hanson motorcycle jacket that neighbors recognized. The second assailant was shot and killed in September 2019.

Editor’s Note: This story has been changed to reflect the correct year of Watson’s shooting.

Megan Cloherty

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

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up