WASHINGTON — The number of children under the age of 18 who have died in D.C. this year is already more than the number of children who died during the entirety of 2021.
The tragic milestone coincides with an already deadly year in the District. There have been 133 homicides in D.C. this year. At this same time, last year, there were 118 homicides.
WUSA9 reviewed the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) homicide data going back to 2017 with a specific focus on the homicides that occurred each year. For example, while there were 157 homicides declared in 2018, nine of them actually occurred in previous years.
MPD data shows that, so far, through 2022, there have been 12 homicides with juvenile victims in the District. In 2021, there were 11 homicides with juvenile victims that occurred the entire year.
Juvenile homicides have also accounted for nine percent of the homicides committed in 2022. They accounted for 4.9 percent of homicides in 2021.
At a Southeast DC peace walk Friday, organized in conjunction with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 202 Peace initiative, participants talked about how violent crime impacts DC’s youth.
Paula Smith lost her child, Devin Smith, to a shooting on August 12, 2019. She watched the peace walk go past her home.
"I've been crying since 2019,” she said. “So many babies are dying. Stop killing our babies."
Southeast D.C. resident Denise Gray said she believes children need more to do in the District to stay out of criminal situations.
Carjackings committed by juveniles have made across the region. This year, MPD has made 60 juvenile arrests for carjackings. Juveniles also make up roughly 70 percent of the arrests for that type of crime.
"The parents need to get control of their kids,” Gray said.
MPD 7D Commander John Branch grew up in Southeast DC and attended Friday’s peace walk. He said seeing all the crime that happens in the area takes its toll.
“It wears you out,” Branch said.
He said it is particularly sad to see children be affected by violence on DC’s streets.
"It's horrible,” he said. “It makes you think, 'What have we done wrong? Are we not listening to our kids? Are we not sending the right message?"
Smith adds every murdered child in DC leaves behind multiple hurt loved ones.
"A mother shouldn't have to bury her child," she said.
These are all the juveniles who have been declared homicide victims in DC through August 12, 2022.
- DeShawn Francis, 16
- Khalil Brandon Rich, 16
- Malachi Jackson, 15
- Justin Johnson, 16
- Xavier Spruill, 17
- Deandre Coleman, 16
- Taniya Jones, 16
- Chase Poole, 15
- Blu Bryant, 15
- Dennis Simms, 17
- Levoire Simmons, 16
- Damari Wright, 17