WASHINGTON — The mother of a teenager shot outside a recreation center in Southwest, D.C. is questioning if kids can even play outside anymore.
The shooting happened outside the King Greenleaf Recreation Center just before 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 6. When officers arrived, they found two teens had been shot. The teens were conscious and breathing when they were taken to an area hospital for help.
D.C. Police are looking for a red or maroon-colored Toyota Rav4 with Maryland Tags as a result of the incident.
Angelica Jones says her 16-year-old son Nehemiah was shot twice, once in the thigh and once in the knee.
“I came outside as I was and seen my baby on the ground,” said Jones.
The mother said her son has had some challenges but she's thankful for the community of people who always step in while she and her husband both work strenuous hours.
"I work seven days a week," she said.
Jones called the shooting yet another wake-up call. She is now questioning if it is even safe for children to play at the rec center.
“You got a question, you know, is it safe for your kids to ever come out and play at the Rec, we're supposed to be safe to play,” Jones said.
Darius Baxter, CEO and President of Good Projects says they often work with children in the area and at the King Greenleaf Recreation Center. He believes the root cause of crime across D.C. is being widely ignored by some leaders.
“We have an epidemic of hopelessness. No kind caring, loving, compassionate individual is committing the crime that we saw yesterday that took place on this playground,” Baxter said.
According to D.C. Police, 14 kids have been shot and killed this year. More than 70 others were shot and survived. That total number is up 91% this year.
Baxter believes all the newness surrounding Southeast D.C. doesn't help families who are already living there.
“There's a whole system at work and none of us created it," he said. "But when we're not trying to dismantle it, we added to it straight up.”
He also says the reality that we expect children to thrive in chaos is simply unrealistic.
“We ignore all the different things that we piled onto them throughout their childhood. Like, as much as I feel for the victims, the crime that happened yesterday the two teens that were shot, I also feel for the shooter," he said. "Like here we are 3:30 p.m. on a Sunday, broad daylight. Hundreds of witnesses out here we got a rugby game going on. And for somebody to think so little about their own life and their own freedom to say like okay, I'm gonna do a drive-by shooting into a crowded area. Like what does that say about the individual all the different things that they've experienced in their life?”
Anyone with information is asked to call MPD at (202) 727-9099 or text the tip line at 50411.
Police released photos Monday of the person they believe shot and killed a 15-year-old in Northwest D.C. on Friday.
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