AP

DC arrests city employee over shooting death of 13-year-old

Jan 30, 2023, 9:56 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2023, 1:28 pm

FILE - Flowers are secured to a pole as a memorial to Karon Blake, 13, on the corner of Quincy Stre...

FILE - Flowers are secured to a pole as a memorial to Karon Blake, 13, on the corner of Quincy Street NE and Michigan Avenue NE in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, Jan. 10, 2023. The note reads, "Karon we will love and miss you dearly." Jason Lewis, a longtime Parks and Recreation Department employee, turned himself in Tuesday morning to face charges of second-degree murder while armed. Lewis shot middle schooler Karon Blake on Jan. 7, around 4 a.m. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police arrested a D.C. city employee Tuesday over the fatal shooting of a 13-year old that has roiled community passions.

Jason Lewis, a longtime Parks and Recreation Department employee, turned himself in Tuesday morning to face charges of second-degree murder while armed. Lewis shot Karon Blake on Jan. 7, around 4 a.m., across the street from the middle school Blake attended.

The shooting prompted a fierce community response, with Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee facing intense public pressure to either arrest the shooter or reveal their identity. Lewis. 41, was ordered held without bond until a Feb. 13 court appearance.

“The investigation took the amount of time that it needed to take,” Contee said Tuesday. “There was somewhat of a self-defense claim that needed to be overcome.”

The charges don’t hinge directly on the shots that killed Blake, but rather to an earlier gunshot that Lewis didn’t mention in his initial statement to police. The arrest warrant acknowledges that Blake was part of a group of youths apparently robbing parked cars, and that Blake apparently ran straight at Lewis before he opened fire from his property.

But it charges Lewis with setting off the violent chain of events with an earlier shot that he fired — one which Contee said “was not part of the initial discussion that we had,” when Lewis made his original statement to police.

Contee said multiple residents on the block came forward with video evidence from their own security cameras. The arrest warrant delves into a chilling level of detail from that footage, including Blake pleading after he was shot.

“The decedent (Blake) can then be heard yelling, ‘I am sorry’ numerous times, followed by ‘Please don’t’ and ‘No’ numerous times. The decedent yells, ‘I am a kid’ and ‘I am only 12’ numerous times,” it states.

That footage, which hasn’t been publicly released, showed Blake and his companions emerging from what turned out to be a stolen car and breaking into parked cars in Lewis’ Brookland neighborhood, the warrant claims. “They had flashlights, they were peering into cars and they were going into the cars,” Contee said.

Lewis is charged with firing first at the young man who remained seated in the stolen car. In the confusion after that first shot, Blake apparently ran directly at Lewis and was fatally wounded.

“The first shot was fired … at someone sitting in a vehicle who wasn’t an immediate threat,” Contee said Tuesday. This original shot, when Lewis had no claim of being personally under threat, was “where things really unraveled” and “put the chain of events into place” that resulted in Blake’s death, Contee said.

“I don’t know if (Blake) knew that Mr. Lewis was standing where he was standing,” he said.

The police chief encouraged the youths who were with Blake that night to come forward to police with their own testimony. But he stopped short Tuesday of promising any sort of amnesty from criminal charges.

“My assessment is that these young men obviously need some sort of intervention,” he said. “Ï want to make sure they get what they need.”

A statement from Lewis’ attorney, Lee Smith, maintained his innocence and said, “While this is certainly a tragedy, once all the facts are heard, I believe that a jury will find that there was no crime here.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

2 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

3 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

3 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

4 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

5 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

6 days ago

DC arrests city employee over shooting death of 13-year-old