Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee III defended not identifying the man who fatally shot a 13-year-old boy he claimed to have seen breaking into vehicles He said any charges would probably be decided by a grand jury after the investigation is completed. At a news conference meant to assuage growing anger and dispel rumors spreading on social media after the killing of Karon Blake on Saturday, the chief said the shooter is African American and is not associated with law enforcement, the Washington Post reports. Other sources said the man is a D.C. government employee. Authorities have said a man confronted Karon after he heard noises, then claimed to have seen the boy and possibly others breaking into vehicles. Police said there is no indication Karon was armed, and Contee said Tuesday that they had not recovered a weapon from the youth.
The shooting prompted a fiery debate among lawmakers and residents over crime and accountability. At least two lawmakers have raised questions about why the shooter has not been charged. More than 200 people filled a recreation center gym on Tuesday night for a community meeting on the incident, demanding details of the shooting and at times drowning out a police representative. Karon’s grandfather, Sean Long, 55, told the crowd that if the victim had been white, the shooter would have been arrested by now. “I didn’t know you could get a gun permit and shoot somebody for messing with a car,” Long said. Police are consulting with prosecutors on whether criminal charges should be filed. Morgan Kane, an assistant police chief, repeatedly told residents at the meeting that their questions were the same ones investigators were asking. “We want the same thing you want — to find out what happened,” she said.