‘Recipe for tragedy’: DC mayor responds to killing of teen during attempted carjacking

Police in D.C. are looking for another person tied to the carjacking that resulted in the shooting death of a 13-year-old in Penn Quarter on Saturday night.

“Guns, carjackings, 13-year-olds: recipe for tragedy, and that’s what we have,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a news conference Monday.

D.C. police released a photo of the other suspect, and the department is offering a reward of up to $10,000 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Officers responded to the 600 block of D Street in Northwest around 10 p.m. Saturday night for a reported shooting. Thirteen-year-old Vernard Toney Jr., of Southeast, D.C., was found shot and was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Police said an off-duty federal security officer was sitting in his car when two juveniles approached him and told him to get out of the vehicle. According to police, the man said one of the suspects was holding his hand in his front waistband pocket as if he had a handgun.

As the off-duty officer was getting out of his car, he shot one of the suspects and the other ran off.

“It’s tragic. It’s a tragedy,” Acting police Chief Pamela Smith said during Monday’s news conference. “We are working very, very feverishly with our court systems and with our partners in this space when it comes to guns.”

Police said the security guard legally owned the gun used to shoot the teenager and is cooperating with the investigation. It’s still not clear whether the teen who was killed or the other suspect had a firearm.

“It’s still under investigation,” Smith said. “It does take us a little time to really look at all the video surveillance and other things that we might need to bring the case to a closure.”

Smith said video or photo surveillance connected to the attempted carjacking and shooting would also be released by Tuesday morning. The security officer who shot Toney is not currently facing criminal charges.

Below is a map of where the shooting happened.

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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