DC Crime: Toddler Shot Dead in Southeast DC

The incident happened at the River Heights Condominiums in Southeast.

WASHINGTON — An 18-month-old boy has died at his home in southeastern DC the day before Thanksgiving.

Police said the incident happened around 1 p.m., at the River Heights Condos on Chester Street near downtown Anacostia.

DC Police Chief Robert Contee said it was too early in the department’s investigation to say if the child died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Contee did say, however, that someone should be held responsible for the child’s death.

“This child has lost his life as a result of someone’s carelessness or recklessness,” says Contee.

Relatives wept with grief when they heard the news that the boy did not survive his injuries. Contractors working on a house across the street heard screams for help.

“We heard a gentleman running out the door saying, ‘My baby was shot, someone call an ambulance,’ recalls Brian Poling. “So I immediately called the ambulance to tell them where to go.”

While Poling was on the phone, his colleague ran across the street to perform CPR.

“This is something I will never forget until the day I die,” added Robbie Cumberland. “When I ran in there I was a little scared for my life because I didn’t know what I was walking into, but I don’t want to say too much, but when I walked through the door I saw the woman with a lifeless baby, but I wanted to resuscitate and I saw the blood coming out of his mouth and I started shaking.”

A man began kicking the windows out of a car parked in front of the building shortly after the shooting.

Chief Contee told WUSA9 the car is related to the investigation and the owner of the vehicle is being questioned.

“It breaks my heart that we have to be here on the eve of Thanksgiving,” said Chief Robert Contee, “you heard relatives screaming in desperation because a child lost his life because of someone’s carelessness or recklessness. Either way, it’s unacceptable.”

The chief said at least one family member, possibly more, was in the house with the child at the time.

Tawanda Barber identified herself as the grandmother of the 18-month-old child at the scene of the shooting. She said his name was King Legend Patterson.

“He had a big, bright future ahead of him,” she said.

Barber added that her family was devastated by his death.

“He was just a perfect kid, just a baby growing up,” she said. “He hasn’t even experienced life yet.”

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