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Halloween night shooting victim was DYRS ward

Officials overruled judge’s recommendation sending youth to Pa. facility

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) continued to demonstrate this week a lack of control over wards of the city committed to its custody, with dire consequences in at least one case.

Tyrone Garner, a 17-year-old shot in Georgetown Monday on a particularly bloody Halloween night, is committed to the custody of DYRS, according to multiple sources at the agency. Tyrone was in critical condition on Wednesday.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Milton C. Lee Jr. had recommended that Tyrone be placed at a secure residential treatment center in Pennsylvania that specializes in hard-to-place juvenile populations, said DYRS sources who were not authorized to talk on the record.

But DYRS Director Neil A. Stanley placed him at New Beginnings, the District's detention and rehabilitation center in Laurel, apparently angering the judge who on Sept. 30 vacated the youth's commitment and placed him on probation with Court Social Services, the sources said.

The terms of his probation are unclear, though sources said he was residing with his mother at the time of the shooting incident, which occurred just before 11 p.m. on the 2800 block of M Street in Northwest, across from George's King of Falafel Restaurant in Georgetown.

On Tuesday, Juan Kibler, another DYRS ward who had been housed at New Beginnings, ran away from DYRS offices at 441 4th Street in Northwest, where he was taking a GED exam, DYRS sources said. Kibler, 20, was in custody for threat to do bodily harm, possession of drugs and a weapon, armed robbery and threatening to injure a person, DYRS sources said. He was apprehended Tuesday night at his sister's home in Southeast, according to the DYRS sources.

Both matters resulted in a flurry of DYRS management meetings and conference calls with Deputy Mayor B.B. Otero, who oversees the troubled agency, the sources at DYRS said.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat who heads the council committee also charged with DYRS oversight, said Ms. Otero has been "very involved" with the day-to-day issues facing the agency.

Those issues include escapes, violence against both youth and corrections officers, programming and placement, and the destruction of property at New Beginnings.

Mr. Graham was unable to comment at press time for this story as he was still in the process of investigating both incidents, he said.

Ms. Otero and the office of Mayor Vincent C. Gray — who appointed Mr. Stanley over unanimous objections from organized labor — did not respond to inquiries from The Washington Times.

DYRS policy is to not answer questions about specific youth, but sources at the agency also say Mr. Gray's office is controlling communications with the media for the time being.

In recent weeks, Mr. Stanley's chief of staff, Christopher Shorter, has refused to answer detailed, written questions from The Times related to youth assaults, property destruction and the success of rehabilitation programs at six months and 1 year from the time youth are committed to the model unit at New Beginnings.

"It is bigger than what you think," said a DYRS source who requested anonymity, citing the threat of termination if they were discovered talking to the press.

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