- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A 19-year-old who turned himself in Tuesday in connection with a fatal 2011 shooting was a Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services ward at the time of the shooting, agency sources confirmed Wednesday. The victim and another suspect also were under the department’s care at the time.

A D.C. grand jury indicted Malachi H. Hargrove on April 4 on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and carrying a gun during a violent crime in the August slaying of Osman Al-Akbar, 19, according to court records.

A Superior Court judge issued a bench warrant for Mr. Hargrove the same day and the warrant was executed Tuesday, records show. Mr. Hargrove was arraigned in Superior Court on Wednesday.

At the time of the shooting, D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat who oversees DYRS, confirmed reports from agency sources that Mr. Al-Akbar had been committed to its custody.

Mr. Hargrove’s co-defendant, Rashid S. Caviness-Bey, who was indicted April 4 on similar charges and arraigned the next day, also was committed to the custody of DYRS at the time of the shooting, according to Mr. Graham’s office, which was unable to confirm or comment on Mr. Hargrove’s status Wednesday.

Both Mr. Hargrove, a Northeast resident, and Mr. Caviness-Bey, of Northwest, have pleaded not guilty and have demanded a jury trial.

A third suspect, a 15-year-old Capitol Heights youth, was arrested shortly after Mr. Al-Akbars slaying. Police have not released his name and his status at the time of the slaying could not be confirmed. However, DYRS sources said this week that the youth is currently committed to the custody of DYRS.

Units responding from the Metropolitan Police Departments 3rd District arrived on the 2600 block of University Place in Northwest after midnight on Aug. 11 to find Mr. Al-Akbar lying in the street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

DYRS has been plagued by a pattern of crimes involving youths under its supervision in recent years. In a 2010 series, The Washington Times examined a years worth of data and found that 1 in 5 killings in the District involved a youth in the custody of the city as either a victim or a suspect.

In January, a Times analysis of data released by the city found that more than 50 D.C. youths in the custody of DYRS either have been killed or found guilty of killing someone else in the past five years — and the majority of them had been categorized in advance as posing a “high,” “high-medium” or “medium” risk of reoffending.

DYRS officials have a policy of declining to comment on youths either currently or formerly in its custody.

• Jeffrey Anderson can be reached at jmanderson@washingtontimes.com.

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