Mother of slain 13-year-old says shooting was unnecessary

WASHINGTON (AP) — The mother of a 13-year-old boy who was killed while breaking into parked cars said Wednesday that she wanted “justice for my child” and claimed the resident charged in connection with his death set the violence in motion by opening fire when he was not under any threat.

“It could have gone a whole different way,” said Londen Blake, whose son Karon was killed on Jan. 7. Facing community uproar over the shooting, police charged Jason Lewis, a longtime Parks and Recreation Department employee, with second-degree murder while armed.

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

Londen Blake, who has three younger children, did not dispute the police contention that her son was part of a group of youths breaking into cars at 4 a.m.

“Kids do things that parents aren't always aware of,” she said. “But Karon came from a good home.”

Lewis is charged with firing first at a young man from the group who remained seated in what turned out to be a stolen car. In the confusion after that first shot, Karon Blake apparently ran directly toward Lewis and was fatally wounded.

“The first shot was fired ... at someone sitting in a vehicle who wasn’t an immediate threat,” Police Chief Robert Contee said on 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 the youth’s death, Contee said.

Lewis' attorney maintains that his client acted in self-defense. He is being held without bond pending a Feb. 13 court date.

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

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

Londen Blake's lawyer, Brian McDaniel, disputed that characterization Wednesday.

“I would say that they are in need in support, he said. ”They're in need of direction and sometimes they are in need of forgiveness."

McDaniel said his office planned to “keep a close eye on the prosecution.”

“Mr. Lewis was not responding to any threat. Mr. Lewis was probably angry,” he said.

Mayor Muriel Bowser made an apparent reference to the Blake shooting Wednesday when discussing another shooting in which a gunman killed one person and wounded two others before being forcibly disarmed by the passengers on a Metro train.

“We’re focused on how we get guns out of our city,” Bowser said. “Whether it’s the Metro, it’s the street, it’s in individual homes, we know that we have guns that are creating tragedies in our city and in our nation.”

Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press