Paris Brown entered Thurgood Marshall Academy six months ago and was still finding his way. He was seeking friends, enjoyed music and would recite poems he wrote.
The 19-year-old was fatally shot Wednesday night in Southeast Washington, struck multiple times and declared dead on a sidewalk on Skyland Place, between Woodland Terrace and Garfield Heights.
Brown, an 11th-grader at the charter school in Anacostia, is the first person to die of violence in the District in 2018. Two deaths that occurred in 2017 have also been ruled homicides this year.
Brown is the second student at Thurgood Marshall to be killed this school year. In September, Zaire Kelly, 16, was shot during a robbery attempt near his home.
"It's really hard to have students taken this way," said Richard Pohlman, the executive director of Thurgood Marshall. Brown, he said, "was a gentle person. He was making connections with the staff and new students. . . . It's tragic, really tragic." He later described Brown as a "very reflective person, a very deep-thinking person."
Police made few details of the killing public, and no arrests had been made by Thursday evening. The shooting occurred about 10:30 p.m., and officers found Brown in the 2400 block of Skyland Place SE after responding to reports of gunshots.
No possible motive was provided. Brown's family could not be reached, and Pohlman said he was unaware whether Brown had been in trouble. He said Brown had no disciplinary problems at the school, which has 388 students.
"I don't know any of the circumstances," Pohlman said, "other than that he was shot multiple times and they don't know why."
Pohlman said Brown was working on a poem with a teacher, and school staff plan to present the work — possibly at an assembly so students can grieve. He said Brown wrote the poem to reflect on his life.
"We want to share it and honor his life in his words," Pohlman said.