The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Family, friends mourn man fatally shot by D.C. police

Two of Kevin Hargraves-Shird's children, Symbul Logan, 12, and Khalil Shird, 15, were among the mourners at a vigil for their father, who was fatally shot by a D.C. police officer. (Clarence Williams/TWP)

Serena Hargraves held a candle above her head and watched as those gathered in the park released black and blue balloons into the sky. She tried to calm her breathing, but it was too much. She began to cry.

It finally hit her that she would never see her younger brother again.

A D.C. police officer fatally shot Kevin Hargraves-Shird on Saturday in Northwest Washington. His family believes he was unjustly killed and has called for accountability, and answers to many questions surrounding the shooting. But on this Tuesday night, they gathered for a vigil in Fort Slocum Park in Northwest Washington, near where he was killed, to remember his life.

“Kevin’s character was hilarious,” Serena Hargraves, 38, told the crowd of about 150 people gathered in the park. “He was known for cheering people up and being there for everyone in their time of need. He was very fun-loving and adventurous.”

Family members leaned on each other in the crowd, comforting those crying as loved ones shared stories of Hargraves-Shird, 31, also known as “Smoke.”

“I looked up to Kevin,” said his younger brother, Brandon Hargraves — one of eight siblings in the crowd. Hargraves-Shird was one of 14 siblings, two of whom died. “I thank my brother for having that role, that love and positivity in my life.”

There are still many details in dispute about the shooting that occurred about 4 p.m. in the 200 block of Madison Street NW. It’s not clear whether a gun was pointed at police at the time the officer fired — or what, if any, commands were issued by police.

Southeast D.C. man shot by officer has died, police said

Police said the officer saw Hargraves-Shird armed with a handgun before the officer fired one shot and struck him. Serena Hargraves, who watched a video Monday from the officer’s body camera that has not yet been released to the public, previously told The Washington Post that he appears to have been struck in the back of the head. Hargraves said the family has given the city permission to show the video publicly.

The video, she said, shows the officer pulling out his firearm while in his cruiser, jumping out and yelling “gun” before firing.

City officials have until Friday to post the video on their website and identify the officer who fired. That officer, who hasn’t been identified, is on administrative leave.

Representatives from local racial justice advocacy groups also attended the vigil and issued a statement demanding answers from D.C. police on the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Serena Hargraves said Hargraves-Shird dreamed of employing youth and teaching them entrepreneurship. Another sibling said he was “always in motion” as a child — a trait he carried into adulthood, friendships and in raising his kids.

A friend shared how he hustled, telling a story of the time when her son and Hargraves-Shird were boys and bought pizzas, then sold each slice for $5. The three mothers of Hargraves-Shird’s children — Khalil Shird, 15, Dahmari Wise, 13 and Symbul Logan, 12 — all spoke about his devotion to his kids.

Termia Logan, 28, said he loved to pick up and drop off their daughter, Symbul, at school each day, often trying to drop off Chick-fil-A for her at lunchtime. His father, James Shird, 74, said his son would bring his children over and let them know “this is your grandfather.”

“All I can say is, ‘Kevin, I love you, but God loves you best,’ ” James Shird said. “And as hard as it is for me, I don’t understand. ... I thank him for the time that he gave me with Kevin.”