D.C. man charged in city intern's killing

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 12, 2010; B01

A Southeast Washington man was arrested Tuesday and charged in the death of the 18-year-old D.C. Council intern whose body was found in woods Sunday, D.C. police said.

Omare Ishmael Cotton, 28, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Alonte Sutton, police said. Sutton, a Ballou High School senior, was killed Saturday in the 200 block of Newcomb Street SE.

In announcing the arrest, police gave few details. However, D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), for whom Sutton had worked, said he thinks that police quickly obtained a "pretty good bead" on a suspect.

The shooting occurred "in broad daylight," Brown said, and there were "several witnesses."

Sutton had worked last summer in Brown's office, and Brown has described him as "a super kid." Brown had recommended him for a one-year internship this year.

Family members have said that Sutton was killed after declining to give a ride to a man's girlfriend.

The victim's grandfather, Wayne Sutton, said witnesses told him that Alonte Sutton and the man had exchanged words Friday night.

Tires on Alonte Sutton's car had been slashed, and he was changing them Saturday afternoon when a gunman encountered him.

The gunman began shooting, pursuing Sutton into a wooded area in the 200 block of Newcomb Street, according to accounts.

The victim's body was found Sunday in a wooded ravine just east of Interstate 295, and not far from the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus.

Police said Sutton had been shot several times.

D.C. police have opened an internal investigation into their response to the shooting, after witnesses said officers did not thoroughly investigate at the scene. The intern's body was not found until Sunday.

No street address was given Tuesday for the suspect and no information could be immediately obtained about links between the suspect and the victim.

Brown expressed uncertainty Tuesday about whether all the details of what led to Sutton's death would come to light.

"I don't know if we'll ever know," Brown said. There are "too many different stories."

He said he had spoken with Sutton's relatives and "a lot of people are pleased" that an arrest has been made. But, he said, people "are still going through the grieving process."

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