By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@afro.com

In what is, generally, Muriel Bowser’s daily COVID-19 press briefing, the D.C.  Mayor took the time to address the violence in the District over the weekend that took the lives of three DMV residents, including that of 11-year-old Davon McNeal on the 1400 block of Cedar Street Southeast.

“Let me start by addressing what happened in our community over the weekend. On Saturday night, an 11-year-old- Davon McNeal, was shot and killed while standing outside after a community cookout.  We’re all heartbroken, and saddened and outraged.  All of us are praying for Davon’s mother and his entire family,” Bowser said at the beginning of a press conference on July 7.

Metropolitan Police Department Police Chief Peter Newsham, also expressed condolences to McNeal and his family, while explaining the gory and heartbreaking details of the incident.

Davon McNeal, 11, was shot and killed in Southeast, D.C. on July 4. (Courtesy Photo)

“He was lying just outside of his home, he was in his mother’s arms and he was suffering from a fatal gunshot wound,” Newsham said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to hold your 11-year-old son in your arms as he’s losing his life.”

Bowser and Newsham are emphasizing the need for an end to gun violence in the District and a push to find McNeal’s murderers.

“This is just an unimaginable tragedy for any family to go through and I know that Davon and his family, in this moment of grief, want to make sure that another family doesn’t suffer this tragic loss.  So while we are all prayerful about them, we also need to work together to hold the people who killed Davon accountable. This should not have happened and it can’t keep happening. We cannot keep losing our children to senseless gun violence. I’m asking all who know anything about the shooting that killed Davon to contact us immediately,” the Mayor said.

“We have some of the best detectives that are in the Metropolitan Police Department that are assigned to this case, that are making progress.  We intend to hold all of the suspects that are responsible for this little boy’s death accountable for his actions,” Newsham said.

McNeal’s murder was not an isolated incident in a week of murders affecting people in the D.M.V.

“Sadly Davon was not the only life we lost to senseless gun violence,” Bowser said.

From July 1-4, seven lives were taken in the District of Columbia, and each person was under the age of 40- the youngest being 11 and the oldest being 36.  On July 1, 18-year-old Kelvin Goggins and 34-year-old Dennis Dykes, were killed in fatal shootings.  The following day, 23-year-old Zamonte Clark and 30-year-old Demetrius Sullivan were killed in two separate shootings.  Then, over the Fourth of July weekend, three more young lives were taken. 

“We did have three homicides this weekend,” Newsham, said before discussing McNeal’s case along with 20-year-old Jordyn Simmons and 36-year-old Antonio Gardiner.

Simmons was killed on the 1800 Block of 19th Street Southeast.

“There was some kind of a dispute regarding someone who had parked in a way that others were uncomfortable within the area.  At least two shooters opened fire on the vehicle, and as a result of this shooting, Jordyn lost her life.  We believe that Jordyn was not the intended target in this shooting.”

Gardiner, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, was at a McDonalds near the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast, D.C., when fireworks erupted.  

“When he went outside to see what was going on, he ended up getting shot and those gunshots took his life,” Newsham said.  “We anticipate that we will bring this to a swift closure.”

In the wake of this violent weekend and his own mourning, McNeal’s grandfather, John Ayala, founder of the District chapter of Guardian Angels, which works with police to prevent crime, is using the moment to preach the importance of communities valuing lives.  Not only a grieving grandfather, Ayala is founder of the District chapter of Guardian Angels, which is an organization that works with police to prevent crime.

I think in cities you have a lot of people that just do not value life at this time. They don’t realize that when you take a life that life is not coming back. It’s not like TV, you take a life and the guy shows back up in another television show, or another movie. It’s not a video game,” Ayala told Fox News on July 7.

To report information leading up to the arrest of any of the victims’ murderers, D.C. leaders encourage texting 50411 or calling 202-727-9099.

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor