Body of D.C. Council Intern Found in Southeast

By Danielle Johnson
|  Monday, May 10, 2010  |  Updated 11:55 PM EDT
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Council Intern Found Dead in Woods

DC Council

Alonte Sutton

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DC Intern's Death Raises Questions From Police Union

The murder of a D.C. intern during an "All Hands on Deck" weekend has a police union leader questioning the effectiveness of the police strategy.

Witnesses Decry Police Response to Shooting Report

The mother of a Alonte Sutton who was found shot to death over the weekend says her son might be alive if police had done a better job responding to the report of a shooting.
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The body of a D.C. Council intern was found in a wooded area in southeast Washington Sunday.

The body of Alonte Sutton, 18, was found in a ravine near the 200 block of Newcomb Street SE. Police are talking to a person of interest known to the victim, News4's Pat Collins reported.

Council member Michael Brown (I-At Large) and the teenager's family members said Sutton was apparently shot and killed after a dispute with a man over a ride.

Family members said witnesses reported the shooting Saturday on Newcomb Street. They said Sutton had been in a dispute with a man after Sutton refused to give the man's girlfriend a ride. Sometime after, family members said the man returned with a gun and opened fire. Sutton fled into a wooded area where his body was found Sunday. Apparently, Sutton jumped over a rail into the ravine, Collins reported.

Police responded to 911 calls of shots fired Saturday night but didn't find anything, Collins reported. Sutton's body wasn't found until a search after he was reported missing Sunday. Police are investigating.

Witnesses and family, including Sutton's mother, said they believe the teen's life possibly could have been saved had police conducted a more thorough search Saturday night, possibly finding him alive.

Brown said Sutton was a favorite among the interns at the Wilson Building, where he participated in the 2009 Council Youth Internship Program with Brown's office.  In the fall he was selected for another session and was assigned to the Office of Support Services.

"He was an exceptional young man whose light was dimmed too soon," said Council Chairman Vincent Gray. "No words can fill the void of such the tragic and senseless loss of this young life."

Brown said Sutton "dreamed for a better life and an opportunity to help his family," especially his mother, grandmother and his baby sister.

"In writing about his internship experiences in my office, Alonte wrote that he learned to 'hold my head high each day and to have respect for myself and others; to believe in myself and to remember three important words, Yes, I Can,'" Brown said in a statement.

"Alonte always arrived at work in my office ahead of time and completed all of the tasks assigned him," Brown said. "He was a hard worker and was always willing to take on any task. He had a wonderful disposition and was loved by my entire staff and by other staff in the Wilson Building."

Sutton was set to graduate from Ballou Senior High School in a few weeks.  Gray said Sutton had applied to several colleges, including UDC, and also was exploring getting work experience in a trade before going to college because he wanted to become an entrepreneur.

"It's very unfortunate that his dreams have been dashed by senseless violence,” Gray said. 

Police have not released the cause of death.

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