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Boy Pleaded With Gunman ‘Don’t Get Me’ After Mother Shot, Killed in DC Apartment, Family Says

'If I wanted to get you, I'd have got you when I got your mother,' the suspect allegedly told the boy

A relative of a woman who was shot and killed inside her Northeast D.C. apartment says her young son was inside at the time and pleaded with the gunman to spare his life.

Vaughn Alexander Kosh, 48, opened fire inside the apartment in the 1700 block of Capitol Avenue NE early Saturday morning, killing 38-year-old Alayna Dawnielle Howard and injuring two others, D.C. police said. Kosh was Howard's neighbor and lived across the hall from her, according to police.

During the shooting, Howard's 12-year-old son locked himself inside a bathroom to try to hide from the suspect, according to Howard's uncle Carlton Howard.

Carlton Howard said the boy told him that the gunman kicked the bathroom door open and pointed the gun at him. The boy said, "Please don't shoot me. Don't get me. Don't get me," he said.

"[The suspect] made a statement to him: 'If I wanted to get you, I'd have got you when I got your mother,'" Carlton Howard said.

The boy then ran past the gunman and out of the apartment.

Howard's 61-year-old mother Dawnella Howard was shot multiple times, police and family said. She is in the hospital recovering.

The suspect also stabbed Howard's boyfriend and shot him in the leg. He was released from the hospital Saturday night.

Kosh told police he had an ongoing dispute with the victims.

He said he was remorseful about the shooting, but that they had pushed him too far for too long, according to police.

Carlton Howard said his niece was planning to move out of the apartment.

"The whole family has been crushed. Alayna was so happy because she was on the verge of moving into a brand new place. Everyone was excited for her and then for this to take place, it just has no meaning," he said.

Relatives said Alayna Howard was preparing to go to a dialysis treatment the morning of the shooting. She had recently struggled with diabetes and had one of her legs amputated in recent months.

"I feared for my life. I thought he was going to kill me," Howard's boyfriend told News4 Saturday night. He did not want to be identified.

He said Kosh kicked in their door at the apartment building before opening fire.

"I fought him off and he shot me," he said.

He said the attacked was unprovoked. The police report lists "argument" as a factor in the killing.

Kosh, of Northeast, was charged with first-degree murder while armed and assault with intent to kill.

Howard's death marks the 160th murder in D.C. this year.

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