VIA THE WASHINGTON POST:
Tears and tributes flowed Wednesday at the funerals for teenagers William Henry Jones III and DaVaughn A. Boyd, who died last week in a multiple shooting in Southeast Washington, one of the deadliest outbreaks of gun violence in the District in years.
Jones, 19, was working toward his GED and liked cooking pancakes for loved ones, according to some of the more than 250 family members and friends gathered at the Temple of Praise church in Southeast, less than a mile from where he died. Boyd, 18, loved his young son, the Washington Washington Football Team and playing the conga drums, said relatives and friends at Pope Funeral Home in Forestville, where the pews were filled and a line of mourners stood against the wall during the memorial service.
Both teens had nicknames among family and close friends. Jones was known as Marley and DaVaughn was called DayDay. Along with Jones and Boyd, 17-year-old Tavon Nelson and 16-year-old Brishell Jones were killed in the March 30 drive-by shooting in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street. Five others were wounded in the shooting.
Nelson was buried earlier this week. Services for Brishell Jones will be held Thursday at Canaan Baptist Church at 1607 Monroe St. NW.
Authorities have charged Orlando Carter, 20; Nathaniel Simms, 26; and a 14-year-old boy thought to have been driving the minivan used in the shooting. Police are looking for a fourth suspect and believe that that the shooting stemmed from an ongoing feud that began over a missing bracelet.
More than a week before the shooting, Sanquan Carter, 19, the brother of Orlando Carter, got angry at a party because he couldn’t find his bracelet, according to court records. A car pulled up and Sanquan went to talk to someone. Moments later, shots rang out. When it was over, Jordan Howe, 20, was dead and another person was wounded. Neither Howe nor the other victim took the bracelet, police said in an affidavit. Sanquan Carter was arrested and charged with murder, and his brother Orlando was also a suspect.
Two days later, according to law enforcement sources, Orlando Carter was wounded by gunfire. The motive is unclear, but police are investigating the possibility that he might have been targeted to avenge Howe’s death. Some of the victims of the March 30 drive-by had recently attended Howe’s funeral.
At the services Wednesday, several mourners spoke out against the cycle of petty disagreements among young people that often lead to gun violence and death.
“I’m tired of going to funerals!” Ronald Moten, co-founder of the nonprofit gang-truce group Peaceoholics, bellowed into a microphone at Temple of Praise. “Raise your hand if you’re tired of going to funerals,” he implored the crowd. Almost 50 hands shot up.
At Boyd’s service, community leaders called on individuals and officials to do more.
“We cannot put a Band-Aid on this any longer,” Pastor Kenny Martin said. “It needs stitches. It’s going to take all of us working together, stitching together.”
Despite the “amens” and the nods of assent from mourners, the threat of retaliatory violence was enough to bring out a police presence. Prince George’s County police cruisers were parked outside Pope Funeral Home, and several police agencies stood watch outside Temple of Praise, including at least one District police officer carrying a semiautomatic rifle.
With his good looks and warm personality, Jones was the role model that his younger cousins wanted to emulate, family members said. He was an honor roll student until eighth grade, according to family members, and then went on to attend various education programs before working toward his GED at Covenant House. A cousin read a poem titled “We Will Meet Again.” A letter from Jones’s younger brother promised that he would complete his GED in honor of Jones.
Several politicians attended Jones’s wake, including Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who filed in quietly behind mourners and waited his turn to view the coffin. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) also attended Jones’s service. Fenty, Gray, Barry and Norton also attended Boyd’s funeral.
In Forestville, one of Boyd’s three sisters, DarNika Thompson, read a poem as she stood near her brother’s open coffin.
“I enjoyed every second I had with you,” she said.
Boyd had converted to Islam in the past few years, his family said. His parents said he recently had gotten out of jail on an accessory to robbery charge but had returned to school and was working toward a high school diploma. He was a member of a band called Sudden Impact, family members said.
“He was a happy kid. He was a jokester,” said his mother, LaTisha Boyd-Thompson. “He liked to play football and basketball. He was still in school. Her just loved to be around his family and friends.”