- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 3, 2020

Deon Kay, a Black teenager shot and killed this week by a Washington Metropolitan Police officer, had a pistol in his hand just before he died, police body camera footage released Thursday revealed.

The video depicts an officer encountering Mr. Kay, 18, who held the weapon in his right hand. He points the firearm at the ground but briefly raises it before he is shot in the chest by a police officer.

As the bullet exits his body, he tosses the gun about 100 feet in the air. Police said they recovered a gun at the scene.

Mr. Kay died at a local hospital Wednesday night.

The shooting added to a spate of high-profile police shootings of Black people this summer, including George Floyd, who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police, and Jacob Blake, who survived police shooting him seven times in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The incidents have sparked nationwide protests and calls to overhaul policing. Upon Mr. Kay’s death, the D.C. Black Lives Matter chapter called for immediate protests, tweeting, “DC police murdered a Black man today.”

At a press conference Thursday morning, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser pleaded for calm.

“I implore you to proceed with respect and privacy for the family and not let any anger spill over into violence in our community,” she told reporters.

Police identified the policeman who shot Mr. Kay as Officer Alexander Alvarez. He joined the department in 2018, police said.

Police Chief Peter Newsham called the incident was “a tragedy.”

The fatal shooting prompted demonstrations throughout the city. Police squared off with dozens of protesters Wednesday night outside a precinct in Southeast Washington near the location of the shooting.

No arrests, injuries, looting or vandalism were reported.

Protesters took their message directly to Miss Bowser early Thursday, marching in front of her home. The crowd chanted “Fire Newsham” and “Say his name” as they swarmed the mayor’s home.

The fatal shooting stemmed from police responding to a report of a man brandishing a handgun on the 200 block of Orange Avenue in the city’s Southeast quadrant.

Upon arriving on the scene, two officers encountered multiple people around a parked vehicle. When the suspects saw the officers, they ran, police said in a statement.

“Mr. Deon Kay exited the vehicle and began to run on foot,” police said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “An officer observed Mr. Kay brandish a firearm and, subsequently, the officer discharged his service weapon once, striking Mr. Kay in the chest.”

The 11-minute body camera footage that police posted on the department’s YouTube page showed the shooting and aftermath from Officer Alvarez’s perspective.

At the same time, the police released a shorter community briefing video that, when viewed in slow motion, shows a gun in Mr. Kay’s right hand.

The videos show Officer Alvarez running out of his police car, shouting, “Don’t move!” Within seconds, Officer Alvarez opens fire on Mr. Kay, striking him once in the chest.

After the shots, Mr. Kay cries out and falls to the ground.

Another officer checks on Mr. Kay, while Officer Alvarez is heard searching for the gun thrown by the suspect. He searches a playground near a housing complex before saying, “I got it.”

The sirens of emergency vehicles and helicopters are heard in the background.

The other officer requests that a union representative come to the scene.

Officer Alvarez, appears shaken by the incident and asks, “Is he in bad shape?” The second officer tells him to sit down, and “people are taking care of everything.”

The video ends as colleagues escort Officer Alvarez away from the scene.

Chief Newsham said it is too early in the investigation to determine whether Officer Alvarez’s actions were justified. The U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C. and the department’s Use of Force Review Board are reviewing the shooting.

“The video has been put out so that everyone can go and look for themselves. You can stop it frame by frame and make your own determination,” he said.

Miss Bowser said she had seen the video, but declined to comment.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigations, as is standard in officer-involved shootings.

Chief Newsham said Mr. Kay was “a validated gang member” who was already known by name to the police officers.

“I’m pretty sure Deon Kay fell through multiple safety nets before yesterday afternoon,” he said.


• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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