Early Sunday morning, a teenage father was murdered and 20 others were shot, including an off duty police officer, at a block party in Washington D.C.
The victim has been identified as 17-year-old Christopher Brown.
“I really don’t understand how my child’s life is gone. 17, my oldest, I have five boys. Just an innocent king’s life is taken for whatever the reason,” the teen’s mother said Sunday.
His mother says Brown’s family isn’t handling the news of his passing well and the teen’s aunt told reporters that he has a 1-year-old son and another child on the way.
A teenage father is dead and 20 people were shot including an off-duty D.C. police officer early Sunday morning at a block party in Southeast Washington. (ABC7)
Police say the off-duty 1st District police officer was shot and is in the hospital fighting for her life.
Authorities say another 17-year-old was shot and at least 11 of the 20 victims shot were women, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham stated during a Sunday morning media briefing.
Newsham says there were multiple shooters involved in the incident when shots were fired at a gathering at approximately 12:20 a.m. in the 3300 block of Dubois Place.
Posters were distributed to promote the 34th-N-Eat 5th annual cookout/block party and it was advertised as a drama-free event with food and liquor provided. Currently, there is no suspect information related to the shooting.
“When you don’t love yourself and don’t love yourself and don’t know who you are, it is easy for you to bring a machine gun to a peaceful event and instantly take someone’s life. That ain’t gangsta, that’s a coward! It’s very sickening,” says Councilman Trayon White.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham confirmed 20 people have been injured in the shooting, 11 of which are females, and that they are currently looking for multiple shooters.
One of those victims includes an off-duty 1st District Police officer who was shot and is currently struggling for her life, D.C. police said.
Cousin Octavia Brown and grandmother Patience Brown said the victim was their loved one: 17-year old Christopher Brown, a father to 1-year-old Elijah and who was expecting another on the way.
One neighbor told WUSA9 that the shooting occurred during a block party or cookout that was kicking off on the residential street late last night, with “hundreds” of people in the street. One resident said he saw a man “slumped over on a car bleeding like crazy,” saying many were ducking for cover when shots rang out.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said Sunday morning that there were hundreds of people at the Saturday night gathering.
He said there were officers on the scene, but apparently not enough to break up the gathering.
“My understanding, and this is preliminary and subject to change so take it with a grain of salt please, is that there were officers here. There were not sufficient officers to be able to move a crowd of that size,” Newsham said.
The District’s current COVID-19 guidelines prohibit more than 50 people to be gathered at one time.
“Preliminarily there were police officers on the scene. I want to confirm that, I want to talk to the management team over here and see if we were doing everything we possibly could,” Newsham said. “Because we can’t tolerate these types of gatherings in our city during COVID-19, it’s just too dangerous.”
“I won’t blame the police for allowing this to happen I blame the individuals who made a decision to have an activity in excess of the mayor’s directive regarding social distancing and kind of keeping the coronavirus transmission down. The police can only do but so much,” ANC Commisioner 7B01 Patricia Howard – Chittams said.
Over 20 responding units arrived at the scene, including paramedics, ambulances and emergency supervisors. No arrests have been made as of Sunday morning and no further details have been announced yet by DC Police
This was that 34th & EAT cookout Malik (@allhomage) was bragging about on IG with all them bottles of Dusse. People been warning him all day this was a bad idea bc of the pandemic, and now look at him with 2 kinds of blood on his hands. Pathetic. Im so angry for my city tonight😤 https://t.co/n9S1NP1JV5
— Miranda👟 (@Minne_miraaa) August 9, 2020
“It looked like there were hundreds of people out here literally just having a party, no one thinking about Corona and no one thinking about activities that could cost them more than just having a good time, because Corona kills,” Howard – Chittams said.
nsics and police were still active at the scene into the morning of August 9.
#BREAKING cont: neighbors say there was a big block party here yesterday that started around 5. Blocks of streets were crowded with people. They tell us they heard multiple gunshots. Still waiting to get official update from police. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/bj2W7aO5Xk
— Megan Rivers (@MegMRivers) August 9, 2020
On social media, several accounts posted images of an event called “EAT Cookout” that took place near 34th and Dubois Place with hundreds in attendance. It is not yet confirmed if that was the location of the shooting.
“We have got to start being apart of the solution,” John Ayala, the grandfather of 11-year-old Davon McNeal, said. McNeal was shot and killed in a Southeast neighborhood not far from Dubois Place on the Fourth of July.
“D.C. is under siege,” he said at Sunday’s scene.
“You need to stop because you took away something that belonged to me, somebody hat I loved so much and somebody dear to me,” Grandmother Patience Brown told WUSA9 in a phone call hours after the shooting.
She described Christopher as a great person and would affectionately call him her “Poppy.”
“I know this is not the only child or will be the last child,” she continued. “But they need to stop this. I want everybody to be safe and happy. But this is not the way to be safe. And this is not the way to be happy.”
Cousin Octavia Brown said she is heartbroken over Sunday’s events. Brown came out to the streets of 33rd and Dubois to mourn, telling WUSA9 that Christopher was a great father to his one-year-old son Elijah.
Artecka Brown, Christophers’ mother, agrees. She described her son as an energetic person with an infectious smile and a love for dance, the oldest of five boys.
“He was an innocent king…he just wanted to go attend a neighborhood party,” she said in a phone call Sunday. “Overall, he is a father, he has one-year-old son and another on the way.”
Early Sunday morning, keys, flipflops and other personal items were still seen scattered on the sidewalk of the scene.
Roads remained closed on 34th Street between Minnesota Avenue and D Street as police continue to investigate the scene.