A 15-year-old escapee from a youth facility was arrested yesterday and charged with assault with intent to murder while armed in a hit-and-run accident that critically injured an 11-year-old boy, D.C. police said.
The teenage suspect, whose name was not released because of his age, was arrested yesterday afternoon after a foot chase in which the youth allegedly forced his way into a Northwest Washington home and jumped from a second-floor window to avoid police, officials said.
Witnesses said Brenton Contee, 11, was rollerblading through his neighborhood just before 7 p.m. Saturday when a speeding car slammed into him at Eighth and Madison streets NW. The boy was carried on the hood of the vehicle and thrown off, then twice run over by the vehicle as the driver tried to get away, police said.
The boy was taken to Children's Hospital in critical condition, but his condition was later upgraded to serious.
The D.C. police department's major crash investigations unit, which handles fatal and potentially fatal crashes, took over the case and soon narrowed its search to the 15-year-old Northwest Washington youth.
Police said last night that the teenager was already being sought on a custody order as an escapee from an unnamed youth facility.
Police received a tip yesterday that the teenager was in the neighborhood, and officers patrolling the area spotted him a block from the intersection where Brenton was struck.
Upon seeing police, officials said, the youth ran and pushed his way past a resident to get into a home in the 4700 block of Ninth Street NW. He eventually was apprehended at Ninth and Allison streets NW.
The youth was being questioned last night. Police said he had been charged with assault with intent to murder while armed in the hit-and-run and with first-degree burglary for forcing his way into the home. Police did not say why the youth was considered armed, although vehicles can be considered deadly weapons.
The teenager was to be arraigned today in D.C. juvenile court.
Police were searching yesterday for the car that struck Brenton. A family member said last night that Brenton and the suspect knew each other from the neighborhood but that there was no bad blood between them.
Brenton's mother, Deborah Johnson, said she was pleased by the quick arrest and thanked neighbors who assisted police. As for the young suspect, she said: "I do forgive him, but I will not forget it. I really do not understand how someone can do such cruelty to another human being."
As Johnson was talking, a monitor in Brenton's hospital room began ringing every few seconds.
"I'm going to die," he moaned.
"No you're not, Brenton," his mother said softly.
"That's what's hurting me most," she whispered to a reporter.
"They're all going to take care of you, Brenton. You're going be okay. Mommy's going be right here. Before you know it, you're going to be playing again."