On Thursday, 15 years after that prison visit, Kevin Burno was in a D.C. courtroom facing charges that he intentionally ran his car into a police officer, who authorities said was badly injured on his motor scooter Tuesday evening when a white Lexus struck him in Southeast Washington.
Burno, now 24, appeared in D.C. Superior Court with two people who police said were passengers in the Lexus. In court documents, police said the driver didn’t have his headlights on until seconds before veering into the opposite lane and hitting the officer, an eight-year veteran who suffered multiple fractures to his left leg and was in surgery most of Thursday. Police did not release the officer’s name.
Burno was raised in the same Southeast neighborhood as his brother, Aundrey, now 33, who is serving a 70-year sentence in a federal penitentiary near Orlando. A 1999 HBO documentary, “Thug Life in D.C.,” contained ominous signs that Kevin Burno might head down the same path as his brother.
But some in his life, including Aundrey Burno and one of the movie’s producers, thought there was hope for him.
“He was a talented kid that had tremendous potential,” said Marc Levin, the New York-based producer of the film, who tried to help Burno out of scrapes and allowed him to intern on movies. “But the world of the hood is a prison in itself. . . . He knew what happened to his brother, and it seemed he was always conscious of the battle not to repeat the life that his brother happened to fall into. It makes you realize that if the hood is all you know, how hard it is to break free.”
The younger Burno has two other criminal cases pending in D.C. Superior Court, both assault charges, and a series of past arrests. And he appeared to embrace at least the culture of thug life; his name is credited to a series of YouTube videos extolling violence. One is titled “Thug Life, it’s been a few years.”
Delores Burno, the brothers’ 49-year-old mother, declined to comment when reached by telephone, saying, “I don’t know what happened.” She did not appear in court Thursday with her son.
Her building sits among countless low-rise apartments with faded brick facades in the Fort Chaplin Park complex along East Capitol Street. At their second-floor apartment, a woman who said she was a relative shouted through the door that the young man’s mother was not home and told a reporter to “come back another time.”
Levin described Kevin Burno as a cute, lovable child who was smart enough to skip a grade. He kept in touch with him, reviewing his writing and music, and tried to persuade him to break from violent rap songs and experiment with something new.