14-year-old charged in National Zoo shooting in court

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- This past weekend, D.C. police arrested a 14-year-old boy in connection with a shooting near the National Zoo on Easter Monday. Monday, the boy will appear at a juvenile/family court proceeding.

Thousands of families had gathered at the National Zoo for an annual outing the day after Easter when shots rang out. Two young people were wounded near the zoo entrance.

Police say they made the arrest after interviewing people who were at the zoo that day and who knew the suspect. Although they wouldn't say where the 14-year-old is from, police did say they talked to people from Prince George's County as well as D.C.

The boy is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

"Any shooting is horrible and not worth anything but especially a shooting that is at a public place, hundreds of people, especially children and families, that's something we can't tolerate," says Commander George Kucik with DC Police.

The boy, who has not been named, will be charged as a juvenile. Police say he was not officially affiliated with a gang.

Now more questions - where did a 14-year-old get a gun? Police wouldn't comment on that, or if the weapon was recovered or not. "It's illegal to have a gun in D.C.," says Kucik. "Certainly not a 14-year-old under any circumstances."

April 21 at the zoo was "African American Family Day" and Easter Monday, a day where police say they do amp up their presence for the increased number of people and the history of violence.

In 2011 there was a fight and stabbing and in 2000 a 16-year-old shot seven people near the entrance. "There were plenty of officers here, despite that someone still had the audacity to pull a weapon and fire that," says Kucik.

Even so, parents say they are concerned to bring their kids to the zoo. "That's scary to bring a child here and a 14-year-old is down here shooting," says Daniel, who brought his 5-year-old daughter to the zoo on Saturday. "I don't come that often as I start hearing the violence. I have to stay away keep her away."

Despite feelings of uncertainty from families police maintain violence like this is not common. "I think it was very unusual, the zoo is a safe place," says Kucik.

The mayor and other city leaders say African American Family Day at the zoo should continue and families who go shouldn't be penalized, while others say it should be canceled.


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