The assistant corporation counsel who appeared in a D.C. Family Court hearing involving the shooting of Jermaine Daniel was incorrectly identified last Friday. Her name is Lynn Holliday. (Published 1/29/91)
It began, the homicide detective testified, as a simple argument between two young friends over how one had treated the other's girlfriend.
But the words quickly became heated, and one of the youths pulled a gun, Detective William R. Hamann said. When it was all over, Jermaine Daniel, 15, was dead, a 14-year-old who police said was Daniel's best friend was in custody, and the victim's other friends -- including former D.C. police chief Maurice T. Turner Jr. -- were in mourning.
The 14-year-old's version of the Wednesday afternoon shooting was recounted by Hamann yesterday at an arraignment hearing in D.C. Family Court, where the youth was charged with second-degree murder.
The teenager was not identified because of his age; he will be tried as a juvenile.
As Hamann told of the suspect's videotaped statement to police, the youth sat at the end of a table with his attorneys, looking down, his face expressionless. He was accompanied to court by his aunt and uncle.
Daniel's killing shocked residents of the Edgewood Terrace Apartments in Northeast Washington, who knew the friendly, overweight youth as "Fats." It also stunned many D.C. police officials, who had come to know Daniel two years ago after he was befriended by Turner.
Turner spent about an hour yesterday with Daniel's mother, Diane, who he said was devastated by her son's death. "This was over some young lady," Turner said. "It's grim. It didn't have to happen."
According to Hamann's testimony, the 14-year-old told investigators Wednesday night that the fight began after his girlfriend told him Daniel had threatened to slap her.
The youth told police that before confronting Daniel, he took his gun -- a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver that he said he had for protection -- outside his apartment and test-fired it once. He told police that Daniel sometimes carried a .357 Magnum.
The youth said he approached Daniel in a courtyard in the 500 block of Edgewood Street NE, and the two had words. As friends of both youths gathered nearby, the detective said, Daniel realized that his friend was carrying a weapon.
Daniel "reached out and touched his jacket," Hamann said under questioning by Assistant Corporation Counsel Lynn Holloway. Then, the detective said, the youngster said Daniel asked him, "What's this? You gonna bust me with this?"
The youngster said that he replied, "No, we gonna be friends tomorrow. Let's talk about this now." But then, the 14-year-old told police, Daniel began taunting him in front of their friends, saying, "If you gonna do that, you better kill me."
The suspect told police that he pulled out his revolver and fired three times. He said he fired the first two shots at Daniel's legs but missed.
The third time, however, the gun's recoil affected his aim, and Daniel was hit in the chest, the youngster said. The wounded boy said "ah," and slumped to the ground, his friend said.
Daniel was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital about 20 minutes later.
Hamann said that after the shooting, the 14-year-old went to his grandmother's apartment nearby, but jumped from a second-story window after she saw his gun and called 911. He turned himself in at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at the 3rd District police headquarters on V Street NW.
Hamann said the youth walked into the precinct "saying, 'I want to turn myself in for the murder that happened on Edgewood. I killed my friend.'
"He said he wished he could rewind it," the detective said.
The youngster was ordered held at the Cedar Knoll Detention Center in Laurel until a Feb. 20 hearing.
A D.C. Department of Human Services counselor at the hearing told Judge Joan Zeldon that "as an experienced counselor, I see signs of a lot of depression" in the youngster, and suggested that a psychiatrist at Cedar Knoll evaluate the youth immediately.
Zeldon agreed, saying, "He apparently is a bright boy with a lot of potential. But he has a lot to deal with here, including the loss of his friend."
On Edgewood Terrace yesterday, young men stood in doorways of some of the low-rise apartments, reading newspaper accounts of Daniel's death. Little girls with bows in their hair volunteered to point reporters toward the shooting site. They laughed about how they dove for cover behind a short brick wall when the bullets began to fly.
A group of five teenagers listened to a tape by the go-go group Rare Essence five yards from where Daniel fell. "This is a tribute to Fats," one of the five said. "Stop and listen to it." They said they knew Daniel and the suspect, but said they did not want to talk about them.
Diane Daniel stayed in the family's sixth-floor apartment yesterday. She declined to talk about the shooting when reporters knocked on her door. "Go away and let me grieve," she shouted from behind her closed door.
Turner met Jermaine Daniel in June 1988. Shortly afterward, Daniel came to visit Turner in his office, and the two became friends. The youngster frequently dined with Turner at his house, and was often seen riding with the chief in his car.
Turner said he tried to steer Daniel away from drugs. But less than a year after they met, Daniel was arrested for selling marijuana, and later for selling cocaine.
Turner, who said yesterday that Diane Daniel is without money to bury her son, spent part of yesterday afternoon trying to arrange a funeral and to find a burial plot for him.
Staff writers Debbi Wilgoren and Gabriel Escobar contributed to this report.