By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
Baby Carmelo Duncan, 1, was in the car with his father and brother, around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 2, when multiple weapons opened fire on the vehicle. While his family was not injured, the 15-month-old, affectionately known as Melo, was killed in an act of violence that has the city, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), FBI and ATF, looking for justice.
“On behalf of our entire city, I share my prayers and condolences with Carmelo’s family, and implore the shooter, the killer of this baby, to come forward and anyone who has information, to also provide it,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We’re grateful to the FBI and the ATF for providing additional reward money. Those who have information leading to arrest and conviction of Carmelo’s murderer, could receive $60,000.”
“We partner with MPD everyday to investigate cases like this. This one jumps out at you immediately… A one-year-old was killed last night,” said Ashan Benedict of ATF, who also confirmed the agency added $25,000 for the reward money. “That’s unacceptable to me, as a citizen of the District of Columbia, and I think everyone should feel the same way, but we join these cases with vigor and we will partner with MPD and the Mayor’s Office to bring those to justice.”
Despite the Mayor’s stay-at-home orders, gun violence is still high in the District and Baby Melo was the fourth juvenile shot in one week, D.C. Council member Trayon White wrote on Instagram. According to D.C. Witness, 171 people had been murdered in the District this time last year.
“We lost an innocent child to gun violence in our city. This is our 187th homicide this year, and Carmelo was the youngest homicide victim of gun violence in our city this year.
When one reporter asked Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham if the shooting was “intentional,” he replied, it “very much appears that way.”
According to Newsham, the young man’s father is cooperating as much as he possibly can while grieving the death of his son.
“This is a father who just lost his infant child and the level of being distraught over something like that, of being in the vehicle when something like that occurred. We’re going to take our time, we’re going to try and help the family as best we can, and we’re going to try and get as much information as we can. Because I’m absolutely sure that dad and mom and the rest of the family want to ensure that the persons that were responsible for this are held accountable,” Newsham said.
The official candlelight vigil for Baby Melo was on Dec. 5 AT 5907 Central Ave. Capitol Heights, Md. People were asked to bring, sky blue, white and brown balloons, which were released.
“I would like to thank all of the community that came out in solidarity and love with the family and friends of #BigMelo,” Black Lives Matter DC Nee Nee Tay wrote on Instagram with a video post of the balloon release. “Let’s not allow this senseless act that took life to be in vain. It is our duty to love, support and protect one another. A beautiful young life that was taken from us way too soon.”