By MICHAEL BALSAMO
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two men have been arrested and two others are wanted in connection with the killing of an 11-year-old boy who was shot during a Fourth of July cookout in Washington, police said Friday.
The boy, Davon McNeal, was shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire between five armed suspects, police said. His killing came during a surge of violence in Washington and in other major cities across the U.S. and sparked widespread outrage from community members.
Two suspects — Christian Wingfield, 22, of Maryland, and Daryle Bond, 18, of Washington — were arrested on first-degree murder charges. It was not immediately clear whether either of the men had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.
Both of the men had prior arrests for violent crimes and Wingfield was on court-ordered supervision with a GPS monitor at the time of the crime, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said. Wingfield cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet shortly after the shooting and investigators believe he “may have tried to change his identity,” Newsham said.
Police said arrest warrants have been issued for two other suspects, 19-year-old Carlo General and 25-year-old Marcel Gordon.
General and Wingfield were each arrested in the spring, charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and had both been released pending trial, Newsham said.
After McNeal’s death, Donald Trump Jr. shared a conservative-created meme of McNeal on Facebook that read: “Davon was murdered after a string of BLM (Black Lives Matter) violence on the Fourth of July.” But the shooting was not connected to Black Lives Matter, the movement behind many of the protests against police brutality.
Police have said the boy had been at a family-oriented anti-violence cookout, but he left to get a phone charger from his aunt’s house when he was struck by the gunfire.
“We are heartbroken and outraged by Davon’s murder. It is just the worst thing that can happen in a community for a child to lose his life to violence,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
The boy’s grandfather, John Ayala, said he was “full of joy” when police announced the arrest.
“The police did a great job. The mayor did a great job. The community did a great job,” he said. “Of course, I’m sad, because I lost my grandson.”
Newsham said detectives worked tirelessly on the case and do not believe McNeal was targeted in the shooting. A fifth suspect is still being sought by police and officials have offered a $25,000 reward in the case.
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