The Metropolitan Police apologized Monday to a Washington, D.C., woman they mistakenly told early Christmas morning that they had shot and killed her son.
Karen Robinson was told by police around 2 a.m. on Christmas that her son Raymond had been shot and killed — but just hours later, he called her to wish her a merry Christmas.
"He says, 'Merry Christmas, Mom,' and I said, 'Who is this?'" she said. "He said, 'Mom, this is Raymond.' I said, 'Boy, they said you died.'"
About 3 p.m. Christmas eve, officers had cornered a robbery suspect off Naylor Road in southeast D.C. He shot at the officers, who returned fire, killing the suspect.
About 2 a.m. Christmas Day, a detective knocked on Karen Robinson’s door and asked to see a picture of her son. After she showed them a picture of Raymond Robinson, they told her he was dead.
"I asked them, 'Are you sure this is my son?'" Karen Robinson told News4. "And they said, 'Yes, ma'am, we’re sure.' ...I couldn’t believe it, and then I said, 'Well, what happened?' and they said, 'Well, he shot at police, and police returned fire on him.' And I’m like, 'No. That’s not my child.'"
But at 10 a.m., Raymond Robinson called his mother. Just half an hour later, the medical examiner/s office called her to go to the morgue to identify the body, and she told them that wasn/t necessary.
On Monday, police identified the deceased as 33-year-old Gregory Marcus Gray. His relatives have been notified.
Monday evening, a detective went back to Karen Robinson’s home to apologize.
"I think they should make a positive ID on a person before they come because anything could have happened," Karen Robinson said. "I could have had a heart attack right here on this floor."
Authorities failed to wait for fingerprint confirmation after receiving a tip about the identity at the hospital, the Associated Press reported. The person responsible for the mistake will be held accountable, police said.
"Proper protocol was not followed in the identification process," police said in a statement. "The department is investigating how this occurred so that it does not happen again."
Gray was pursued after allegedly robbing someone outside a bank, police said.