9-Year-Old Boy Dies Weeks After D.C. Shooting

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 26, 2005; 1:54 PM

Donte Manning, the 9-year-old boy who was shot in the head by a stray bullet last month in Northwest Washington, died this morning of his injuries at Children's Hospital in the District, police said.

Top police officials said they have no suspects in the shooting, which occurred March 24 in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said today that he had increased the reward for information in the case to $50,000. The amount had previously been set at $25,000.

"It's tragic," Ramsey said. "There was absolutely no reason for that to have happened -- a 9-year-old child shot down while playing in front of his house."

Ramsey expressed frustration at the lack of progress in the investigation and cooperation from the public in the case. He said detectives were chasing down leads but police have gotten few tips.

"We haven't gotten a lot of calls," Ramsey said.

Donte, who was taken off life support on Friday, was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m., police said.

The shooting occurred as more than a dozen children were playing outside the Warner Apartments in the 2600 block of 13th Street NW, where Donte resided. The boy was the only one hit. The third-grader was staying out longer than usual because school was closed the following day.

The shooting drew outrage from community leaders, who said that the apartment building and surrounding area in Columbia Heights have been troubled for years by drug dealing and violence. Narcotics officers raided an apartment in the building on the night of the shooting, arresting three suspects, but police have made no connection between the drug activity and Donte's shooting.

Donte is the fifth juvenile to be slain this year in the District. Two were victims of child abuse. The others, a 17-year-old and 16-year-old, were shot while in cars in Southeast Washington.

Last year, 24 of the city's 198 homicide victims were 17 or younger. They included 8-year-old Chelsea Cromartie, who was killed last May by a stray bullet that crashed through a living room window in Northeast Washington.

Authorities urged anyone with information about Donte's shooting to call police at 202-727-9099.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company