The recent shooting of a 15-year-old boy in Southeast Washington was possibly the second D.C. homicide this month in which an on-campus dispute among students led to a fatal attack near a school, authorities said.
Two weeks after Tyshon Perry, 16, a charter school sophomore, was stabbed to death outside the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro station, ninth-grader Jaylyn Wheeler was shot May 16 a half-mile from Ballou High School.
Just as a school altercation immediately preceded Tyshon’s death, Jaylyn was slain hours after a fight at Ballou in which “the involved parties decided to settle their dispute away from the school,” according to a police affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court.
A witness told police that Jaylyn “intervened during the fight” at school as a peacemaker, the affidavit says.
The affidavit was used to obtain an arrest warrant for one of Jaylyn’s schoolmates, Daquan Gray, 16, who surrendered to police Wednesday and was charged as an adult with first-degree murder. Making his first court appearance Thursday, the defendant, slender and baby-faced, stood in shackles before a judge as a prosecutor argued successfully that he should be locked up pending a preliminary hearing.
Gray’s lawyer, Dana Page, told Magistrate Judge Errol R. Arthur that the evidence against her client is weak and that he should not be held without bail.
“He’s a child,” she said, asserting that Gray is not a public-safety threat.
The shooting occurred shortly before 4 p.m. near the mouth of an alley between the 600 block of Alabama Avenue and Raleigh Place SE, the affidavit says. The statement, written by a detective, says a witness reported seeing a group of people fighting in the alley before shots were fired, and all but one of the combatants scattered.
The teenager left behind was Jaylyn, who staggered and collapsed, according to the affidavit. It says he had been shot in the abdomen, neck and right side with a .25-caliber pistol. He died hours later at George Washington University Hospital.
Rhania Reeves, a friend of Jaylyn’s mother, told The Washington Post that the youngster probably was walking from Ballou High, where he had transferred only days earlier, to a bus stop on Alabama Avenue, a few miles from where he lived.
Reeves said Jaylyn played in youth football leagues from early boyhood and recently had become an uncle. She said he previously attended Choice Academy, a school for students who have trouble in conventional schools. The academy prepares youngsters to reenter the traditional system, and Jaylyn was newly enrolled at Ballou.
Meanwhile, two weeks earlier, on May 1 at KIPP DC College Preparatory high school in Northeast Washington, one of Tyshon’s friends got into an argument with a female schoolmate. Teachers broke up the dispute, according to a police affidavit. But tensions continued as the girl reached out to friends in the neighborhood.
Tyshon, an honor student who hoped to become a federal law enforcement agent, was stabbed during a melee hours later, about a mile from the school. Two cousins, age 18 and 16, have been charged with murder. The juvenile is being prosecuted as an adult.
The altercation at Ballou involved friends of Jaylyn, the affidavit says. “It was rumored that the Dean of Students was on his way to investigate,” so the combatants decided to finish the fight away from school.
After the shooting, police said, detectives reviewed surveillance video from the area and footage of two young people walking in an alley near the crime scene in the minutes following the shooting. One is seen “bending down by a tarp . . . moving his arm quickly . . . and placing it under the tarp,” the affidavit says.
Police said they looked under the tarp and found a .25-caliber pistol.
Several witnesses, viewing the video, identified Gray as the person reaching under the tarp, police said. The suspect in the video was wearing “a dark colored shirt with a distinctive light colored design on the front chest, tan or light colored pants, and black shoes,” according to the affidavit. In surveillance video from Ballou throughout that day, it says, Gray can be seen wearing the same type of clothing.