Osborne was fatally shot Wednesday afternoon outside the Safeway at the Waterfront Metro station, during a return visit to his mother’s nearby apartment. His father, Melvin Campbell, learned of the shooting from a relative and sped to the scene.
“Marquis was loved and he gave love,” said Campbell, who is 49 and lives in Congress Heights in Southeast. “But he also had another side, and unfortunately that side won out.”
As of Friday evening, police reported 36 slayings this year, That’s on par with the reported homicides during the same period in 2019, which ended with a decade high.
Osborne was shot about 5:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of 4th Street SW, a normally busy area outside the Metro station and between the grocery store and a Starbucks. A community leader said few people were out at the time due to social distancing prompted by the novel coronavirus.
Still, the location in the heart of an emerging neighborhood of luxury apartments and shops a half-mile from the District’s new waterfront promenade, the Wharf, caused concern. It occurred outside the offices of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, and its chair, Gail Fast, said residents were anxious and wanted police to reassure them how they would “deter this kind of behavior.”
As a child, Osborne had lived with his mother about two blocks from the Metro station in public housing that predates the development around the Safeway store. He spent much of his teenage years living with his father but returned to the Waterfront area after he graduated two years ago from High Road Academy in the District, which is now closed. After getting into disputes, he moved in with fiance in Southeast. His mother didn’t respond to a request to comment; his fiance could not be reached.
Campbell said he struggled to keep his son out of trouble and that Osborne had a criminal case as a juvenile involving alleged threats.
Campbell said Osborne “strove to do the right things but the lure of the streets kind of pulled him. We fought hard to keep him.”
He said Osborne had a learning disability and was referred from the District to High Road, a private school. After graduation, Campbell worked as a cashier at REI and wanted someday to be a police officer. Campbell said his son, who stood over 6 feet and weighed 240 pounds, was known by loved ones as a “gentle giant.”
“People thought Marquis was kind of a rough guy, but in his heart he really wanted to help people,” Campbell said. “Especially young people.”
But he somehow couldn’t pull it together for himself. Campbell said every time he lectured his son, his son would retort, “Dad, it’s different in this day.” The father answered: “It might be new players but it’s the same situation. I would tell him there is no love in these streets.”
Campbell had thought his son was paying no attention to that advice. But one day he discovered his son’s little nephews and nieces could repeat the lectures. Marquis had told them what his father had told him.
It was both frustrating and enlightening for Campbell, a former U.S. Marine who was among the troops that entered Kuwait during the first Gulf War. His son had listened to him after all. He just didn’t follow the advice for himself.
Osborne’s violent death did not come as a surprise. Campbell said he and the young man’s mother “kind of knew this day would be coming.”