The latest victim, 15-year-old Myesha Lowe, was shot in the head while sitting in a car with her friends just before midnight Saturday. The next day, her mother decided to have the doctors take her daughter off the life support machine that was keeping her breathing.
The day before Myesha was shot, residents and community leaders from Prince George's County and the District had come together for a summit at the Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington. Their reason for gathering: to discuss the killings and the escalating crime in Prince George's and the District, and to exchange solutions for ending the violence.
"I got tired of riding down the street in my car and hearing about another child being killed because of violence," said Van Rowls, a Fort Washington gospel artist.
Rowls, president of the District-based Prayzework Records, co-sponsored the event with Ebenezer AME Church and Howard University's WHUR-FM (96.3), which broadcast the forum live.
The summit, called "Enough is Enough," attracted several hundred people, including Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson, State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey and County Council Chairman Tony Knotts. County Police Chief Melvin C. High also attended, along with Sheriff Michael Jackson and Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Brian Jordan.
The event addressed such issues as whether parents should be punished for crimes committed by their children. The Rev. H. Beecher Hicks, pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in the District, suggested another tactic.
"Instead of punishing parents for the crimes of their children, parents should be held accountable for the rearing of their children," Hicks said. "Children are a reflection of what they have been taught."
High said he does not favor punishing parents. But Ivey said he could see his office going after parents whose children, for example, steal cars.
"If I have children stealing cars," Ivey said, "I have my lawyers seek restitution from their parents."
Ivey added that more needs to be done to encourage parents to keep their children at home at night and to work with young women who are having babies before they are ready to properly care for them.
"A lot of kids are having babies," Ivey said. "We need to get them the skills they need to be parents."
Jackson said the summit was critical because the relationship between the police and residents is not always healthy, and has grown cold in some communities.
"Talk to the state's attorney," Jackson said when asked about how difficult it is to get witnesses to come forward. "We can lock up all the people we want, but if someone feels that nothing is going to happen to the guy, they will not come to court."
Linda Jones and Gillian Bates came to the forum together and liked what they heard. The two women have been speaking out against youth violence since Jones's son shot Bates's son and six other youths at the National Zoo in April 2000. Despite what happened, Jones said, "We are still moms and we can still come together."