WASHINGTON -- It's a horrible holiday season for a family in Southeast. Gerald Watson's mother and four brothers and sisters are in mourning after he was murdered on Thursday. He was just 15 years old.
By all accounts he was a good kid, but at least two people chased him into his aunt's stairwell and shot him repeatedly.
Police are still searching for the his killers.
Gerald Watson's godfather, Darrell Gaston, fought back tears and sorted through the pictures he has left of him.
"Doing what he does best," he said, showing on photo on his phone. "Winning awards at Pop Warner and football."
The curtains are drawn in his family's apartment on Knox Street, SE. But you can still see the teen's football trophies in his window, and the Christmas ornaments that should have brought the joy of the season to his family.
"We had just gone to a basketball game at the new arena, and he was just so excited," said Gaston. "And to get a phone call that your godson, that your mentee, that someone that many people loved, was just violently gunned down, it's, it's…" He trailed off, unable to come up with the right word to describe his grief.
Police say Gerald was just outside his own apartment after school on Thursday. At least two masked men chased him into the stairwell of his aunt's home next door, and then fired nine shots at him, hitting him repeatedly.
A law enforcement source said there were gunshots just an hour before Gerald Watson was killed. And there had been gunshots for days. No suspect, and so far no motive. As far as they can tell, Gerald Watson died over a stupid neighborhood beef. Why he was targeted is still a mystery.
At Anacostia High School, where Gerald was in 9th grade, parents were in tears.
"It's very, very sad. Very sad.... But just guys, don't judge this school from what happens outside," said Robin Johnson, her voice breaking.
Even in grief, his friends are trying to remember the good times.
"He would brag about how he would cross you on the basketball court," said Gaston. "Just to hear him brag is one of the things a lot of people will miss."
Gerald Watson is the 156th homicide victim of the year, the ninth of children between the ages of 10 and 17. D.C.'s homicide rate is up 42 percent over this time last year.