A Montgomery County high school student was beaten to death Friday night when an argument escalated into a fistfight involving at least five teenagers, police said yesterday.
Malik Dalton McCoy, 16, a sophomore at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, was visiting a friend about 11 p.m. Friday on Valleyfield Drive in the Norbeck area when he was lured outside by a boy who came to the door, Montgomery County police said. As the two argued in the street, several other youths came out of hiding, police said. When officers arrived a few minutes later, McCoy was lying unconscious on the ground and the attackers had fled, said Capt. John Fitzgerald.
McCoy was pronounced dead at Montgomery General Hospital a short time later. The results of an autopsy are pending, and police are interviewing witnesses in the case.
"There were five or more" youths, believed to be near McCoy's age, involved in the beating, Fitzgerald said. "We need some help identifying the suspects." There is no evidence that the killing was gang-related, he said.
McCoy was the second teenager in less than a week to die after being beaten by other youths in Washington's Maryland suburbs. Early last Sunday, Michael A. Bassett, 18, of Oxon Hill died after a group of teenagers attacked him outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in Suitland. He was hit by two cars after being left unconscious in the road, authorities said.
Prince George's County police arrested a second suspect in Bassett's death Friday evening. James Jarrell White, 18, of the 1600 block of V Street SE in the District, was arrested at his home on a fugitive warrant charging him with first-degree murder. Emmanuel A. McClain, 16, was the first suspect arrested in that case, charged as an adult with murder.
Yesterday afternoon, relatives gathered in the McCoy family's Silver Spring townhouse to mourn a youth who they said was smart and inquisitive but had gotten in "with the wrong group of boys," said McCoy's aunt, Yvonne Wingfield, 62, of Lanham. Wingfield said the family believes McCoy knew his attackers and recalled him saying that he had been threatened at school. "It was nothing he should have died for," she said.
McCoy's family described him as a computer guru and African American history buff who wanted to be an electrical engineer. He had had trouble making friends since the family moved from Detroit to the Washington area two years ago, relatives said. His mother, Stephanie, works for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, and his father, Stephen, is employed by a nonprofit community development organization in Washington.
McCoy, a champion swimmer in Detroit, had not found a team to join, his aunt said. Instead, he fell in "with older boys who were not focused, and he allowed them to influence him," Wingfield said.
"He was naive," she said. "You keep hoping this is a phase and we'll all live through it. But if they're killed, that hope is gone."
Montgomery County police asked that anyone with information about the killing call the major crimes division at 240-773-5070. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-800-673-2777. Crime Solvers offers a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest or indictment.