A 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death Monday morning near the fare gates at the Deanwood Metro stop in Northeast Washington, just weeks after another teen was fatally shot at the same station.
Police identified the boy as John Rufus Evans III of Northeast. Officials confirmed that he had attended eighth grade at a charter school in the District but left at the end of last school year. The mayor and the chairman of Metro’s governing board said authorities think John knew his assailant, although police cautioned that the information is preliminary.
A motive for the stabbing was not immediately known. “It happened in a matter of seconds,” Assistant Chief Peter Newsham of D.C. police said of the attack, which occurred about 11 a.m. and shut down the Orange Line for several hours. Newsham said preliminary information shows that John was exiting the station when another person followed him. He did not know if the two had been arguing.
Police released two surveillance photos of a person of interest in the case. They show a black male between 14 and 20 years old, with hair in twists and braces on his teeth. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black, puffy jacket.
John died shortly after arriving at a hospital. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) called the stabbing a “senseless act of violence.”
Little could be learned about the slain teenager Monday. He attended the Richard Wright Public Charter, a school for journalism and media arts in Northeast, as an eighth-grader. The school’s chief executive, Marco Clark, said John participated in the school spelling bee and was a member of the arts club. He painted abstract pictures, some of which still hang in the hallways.
“I remember him as a young person with a lot of potential,” Clark said Monday. “He talked about his future and how he wanted to do something positive with his life.”
Clark said the teen left the charter school because he was moving in with a different parent in another part of the District. A spokeswoman for the District public schools said that the school system has no record of his enrolling this academic year and that it was unclear whether he went to another school system.
Clark said the youth accompanied classmates on field trips to the Newseum and the National Geographic and Smithsonian museums.
“It totally disgusts me to know we have lost another young person,” Clark said.
Monday’s stabbing is sure to revive discussion of violence at and near Metro stops. At the same station March 26, another 15-year-old, Davonte Washington, was fatally shot as he waited for a train with his mother and younger sisters. Police said the suspected shooter was apparently angry over a glance or a stare and shot the youth unprovoked as he was on his way for an Easter haircut.
Last year on July 4, a man was robbed and repeatedly stabbed aboard a Red Line train as passengers watched and the train traveled from the Rhode Island Avenue station to the NoMa-Gallaudet station. In the past several months, Metro passengers have expressed growing concern about youth violence after several attacks involving large groups.
Metro officials did not comment but said in a statement that the loss of a teenager is a “tragedy for our community and we share in that grief.” It added, “We will continue to take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety of our riders.”
D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chairman of Metro’s governing board, said increased police patrols will be part of upcoming discussions. Metro had earlier bolstered transit police patrols but cautioned that putting officers at each of the 91 stations and aboard trains is impractical.
“Would one or two more officers have prevented that?” Evans said of Monday’s stabbing. “These are questions worth asking. It’s the second time we had a problem at Deanwood. People are asking, ‘What are we going to do about it?’ We have to do something.”
D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), who went to the stabbing scene, raised questions about the way teens resolve conflicts.
“Our young people have access to these weapons, and they aren’t afraid to use them,” Alexander said. “Police presence is important, but there is something deeper than that going on from our young people. Nothing is that deep that it should result in a murder.”
About two hours after the killing, a group of community activists, residents and lawmakers gathered on a sidewalk outside the Deanwood station to strategize on how to deal with the violence. Two young men approached, and one collapsed in anguish as he learned that his friend had been killed. He and the other youth stormed off as community activists Ronald Moton and Trayon White ran after them.
“We’re just trying to make sure the guys don't do something crazy,” Moton said. “We’re just trying to listen to see what’s going on, to see how we can help.”
Keith L. Alexander, Dana Hedgpeth and Perry Stein contributed to this report.