A Washington, D.C., government employee faces a murder charge for the fatal shooting of Karon Blake, a black 13-year-old middle school student whose death has rocked the nation’s capital.
Police said Jason Lewis, 41, turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday. He has been charged with second-degree murder while armed.
Lewis maintains his innocence. “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,” his attorney Lee Smith said in a statement reported by NBC News.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee and court documents divulged new details about the deadly incident outside Lewis’ home in the Brookland neighborhood at around 4 a.m. on Saturday, January 7.
Police said Lewis heard noises and witnessed someone who appeared to be “tampering” with cars. In the ensuing interaction with “youngsters” wearing black, authorities said Lewis stepped outside with a legally registered gun and allegedly shouted, “Hey! What are y’all doing?” While on his property, Lewis shot at a “getaway vehicle” before firing at Blake, who “ran toward” Lewis, Contee said during a news conference. The police chief noted it is unclear whether Blake knew Lewis was standing there.
Blake yelled out, including shouts of “I am sorry,” as well as “I am a kid” and “I am only 12,” according to an affidavit. Authorities previously said Lewis performed CPR on Blake after shooting him, but Blake died soon after at a hospital, NBC Washington reported.
During the weeks that followed, officials did not immediately identify Lewis as the shooter, but Mayor Muriel Bowser did confirm the shooter was a D.C. government employee who was placed on administrative leave. Authorities also pushed back on a wave of “misinformation” involving allegations centered on race, disclosing the shooter was a black man.
Now, Contee is asking the other juveniles spotted fleeing the scene to come forward. “This young man shouldn’t be dead. But, he is, and now again we have to go through the course of the judicial process,” he said.
A grief-stricken community held a vigil for Blake earlier this month and some locals expressed outrage over the use of deadly force. “Property is not greater than life. Karon should be alive today,” tweeted D.C. Council Member Christina Henderson.
Blake left behind a mother and three younger siblings, according to Kerry Richardson, the principal of Brookland Middle School, where Blake was a student. “He was a quiet and inquisitive scholar who loved fashion and football,” Richardson added. “Although he loved his neighborhood, he loved Brookland MS (the faculty & his peers) and the structure it presented to him even more.”