Diane Howe said she jumped up, ran outside and asked people where her only child was. One of her nieces, covered in blood, said he had been shot.
Howe ran to the car and tried to hold her son but was fearful moving him could cause more harm. “Don’t leave me Jordan,” she recalled saying. “You promised me you wouldn’t leave me.”
Several people told Howe that her son’s childhood friend, Sanquan “Bootsie” Carter was one of the shooters in an incident that left two others injured, she testified. Howe had known Carter, 21, for more than a decade.
Diane Howe’s testimony came in the trial of five men charged in her son’s shooting and two others. Prosecutors say Carter, his older brother Orlando Carter, 22, and friends Jeffrey D. Best, 23, and Nathaniel Simms, 28, armed with an AK-47-style-assault rifle, a .380 pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun — weapons, prosecutors say, which were supplied by Lamar Williams, 23 — descended on building after Sanquan Carter told them someone stole his bracelet, a gold-painted piece of jewelry with rhinestones.
A day later, Orlando Carter was injured in a shooting that prosecutors say was retaliation for Howe’s murder. Prosecutors say Carter then organized friends, including Robert Bost, 23, to orchestrate a retaliation shooting.
On March 30, the day of Howe’s funeral, Orlando Carter, Best, Bost and Simms allegedly shot and killed Tavon Nelson, 17, while trying to steal Nelson’s gun. Minutes later, the men drove to the 4000 block of South Capitol Street SE and opened fire on a crowd of mourners. Three teenagers were killed and six others were wounded.
Attorneys for all five men said their clients were not guilty. Simms later pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree murder.
Howe had no knowledge of the bracelet. During the March 22 party, Howe’s girlfriend Keya Harrington, unbeknownst to anyone, picked it up from a dresser and placed it on her wrist. Harrington, 20, told jurors she “forgot” she had the bracelet when she left. That evening, she testified, she watched Carter searching for something but he never said what he was looking for.
Norman Williams, Howe’s father, shook his head as Harrington testified. “It seems so surreal that five young people are dead over something they never knew anything about, a bracelet,” Williams said later. “It’s senseless.”