DC mayor, police chief ask public for tips on illegal guns after toddler is killed

D.C. leaders are pleading with the public to turn in illegal guns after a toddler was shot and killed in Southeast last week.

The D.C. police said last week that 1-year-old Legend Wheeler, who would have turned 2 in December, died of a gunshot wound on Chester Street on Nov. 24. Mayor Muriel Bowser, speaking at a news conference on Monday, said it’s likely an illegal gun was involved.

“If you know that you have babies in your house with guns, you don’t want them there, call the police,” Bowser said.

The city recently said it is offering a higher-than-usual reward for tips leading to the recovery of illegal guns. The city usually pays up to $2,500.

In a partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the reward for certain types of illegal guns is now as high as $7,500. The higher reward for tips leading to the recovery of illegal weapons lasts until the end of the year.

Since last week’s announcement of the larger reward, Police Chief Robert Contee said, police have already recovered 96 illegal firearms.

D.C. police found Wheeler unconscious with a gunshot wound. They are investigating if it was self-inflicted. Contee said they are still searching for the firearm and that there were family members who were with the child when he was shot.

“Those family members who were present have opted to seek counsel. As they are seeking counsel, that makes it a little bit more difficult for us to really get the story as to what happened to this child,” the chief said.

Police have confirmed that they are conducting a death investigation, not a homicide investigation.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin is an anchor/reporter for WTOP. She started her career in New York City as a local TV reporter and has since covered foreign affairs and national politics as a Washington correspondent. She also anchored a nightly news show for an international network.

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