Deaths of 3 D.C. Teens In 24 Hours Shock City
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
First there was a 14-year-old shot in the back in a public housing complex. About 13 hours later, police found a lifeless 15-year-old at a construction site. And seven hours after that, a 16-year-old died after he was shot in the head.
The teenagers were found dead in a 24-hour span in the District on Sunday and Monday, raising alarm across the city. D.C. police said none of the three cases appears to be related, but all three are homicides. That raises to 15 the number of slayings of victims in the city this year who were younger than 18. In all of last year there were 12.
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said last night that a man, about 50, had been taken into custody in the death of the 15-year-old, Dominick A. Dixon. Ramsey said the man had made a statement about the killing to police.
No arrests have been reported in the other two killings. Police said last night that Dixon's death was a homicide. But they did not say how he was slain, and autopsy results had not been released.
After a search near where Dixon's body was found Monday, police discovered a knife late last night. The youth's mother, Gloria Dixon, said police indicated to her that the small folding knife was "part of the crime."
The teenager's body was found in boxer shorts at a work site near his home. His mother has said she thought he had been strangled. Even after the discovery of the knife last night, she said she had not seen knife wounds on her son's body.
Dixon also said police indicated to her that the man whom they were questioning apparently had been at an abandoned house near where the body was found.
She said she believed she had spoken to the man yesterday. She said the man had expressed sympathy for her son's death and told her, " 'I don't know who could have done this.' "
She added: "Maybe me talking to him made him" give a statement to police
Ramsey said he could not recall a 24-hour period that claimed so many young lives. "You hope it's something that's just an aberration," said Ramsey, in his ninth year as chief.
All but two of this year's juvenile victims were teenagers. The others were a 2-year-old boy and a five-month-old boy. Only one victim was female: Cynthia Gray, 17, killed last month after shielding her godson from bullets on a Southeast Washington street.
The uptick in juvenile homicides echoes the horrific toll of 2004, when 24 youths were slain in the city, causing great concern among residents, community activists, D.C. police and the D.C. Council, which held a hearing that explored the root causes of youth violence.