A 27-year-old reporter was gunned down in Skyland in Southeast D.C. Wednesday night — and her parents were told their daughter was a bystander used as a human shield.
Charnice Milton was shot by a man on a dirt bike about 9:40 p.m. Wednesday on the 2700 block of Good Hope Road SE, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. The gunman, riding in a group of dirt bike riders, was trying to shoot someone in another group of riders, police said.
"At 9:28, she texted me and said, 'I'm on my way home,'" the victim's mother, Francine Milton, said. "So, I was waiting for her to text me back and let me know if she needed me to pick her up, if she needed us, where she was. And we never got that text last night."
Milton, who was a contributor for Capital Community News (CCN), was taking the bus home after covering a story on Capitol Hill at the time of the shooting, her parents told News4's Derrick Ward. She was rushed to a hospital, where she died.
"She was on her way home doing what she did every single day," Lanier said at a briefing Thursday afternoon.
Ward 8 resident advocate Nikki Peele said she admired Milton's devotion to covering D.C. neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.
"The story was being told by people who did not live here, and it took those citizen journalists like Charnice ... who gave the true story," Peele said. "She ate with us, she shopped with us, she worshipped with us."
Milton began working for CCN, which publishes East of the River News and Hill Rag, in August 2012, editor Andrew Lightman said.
"We lost one of our own yesterday," he said. "Charnice really loved doing community stories. She loved talking to people."
Milton attended Ball State University and earned a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University, her Linkedin page says.
Police described the suspect as a male in his late teens with long dreadlocks, last seen speeding away on a dirt bike or moped.
Lanier made an impassioned plea for witnesses to come forward with anonymous tips.
"Help us get to the person who would be so reckless as to take this life in the manner it was taken," she said. "We need closure for this girl, for this community."
Anyone who has information regarding this case is asked to call police at 202-727-9099. Information can also be submitted to the Metropolitan Police Department's text tip line by text messaging 50411.