Washington DC

11-Year-Old Boy Fatally Shot in Southeast DC

Davon McNeal, a middle school student, loved football and dreamed of playing in the NFL

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What to Know

  • Eleven-year-old Davon McNeal was shot and killed on July Fourth in Southeast D.C. when a group of men opened fire.
  • He had been headed to a cookout with his family when they stopped to pick up something.
  • McNeal's grandfather begged the shooters and any witnesses to come forward. "You know what’s going on! Speak up! Stop being scared," he said through tears.

An 11-year-old boy was shot and killed when a group of men began shooting in a Southeast D.C. neighborhood Saturday night, police say. His grandfather is active in anti-violence efforts.

Davon McNeal was on his way to a Fourth of July cookout when his family stopped at his aunt's house to pick up a phone charger, his grandfather John Ayala said.

“In a matter of seconds, just stepping out the car, they heard gunshots. When they heard gunshots, he drops,” he said. 

McNeal’s mother thought her young son was taking cover. 

“He was actually shot. The mother held him,” Ayala said. 

The middle school student was rushed from the 1400 block of Cedar Street SE to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

McNeal loved football and dreamed of playing in the NFL. Family members said he talked about it all the time. 

His maternal grandfather, Tony Lawson, wept as he spoke about him. He begged the shooters and any witnesses to contact police. 

“I hope somebody speaks up. You know what’s going on! Speak up! Stop being scared,” he said through tears. 


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McNeal's family had moved out of the neighborhood about a year ago to get away from the violence.

D.C. Chief of Peter Newsham said five men were "shooting up the area" near the Frederick Douglass Community Center at the Frederick Douglass Garden Apartments. They sped off in a black sedan, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

“Davon should be with us today. He should be doing the things 11 year old boys do and enjoying his summer with family and friends," she said.

People shot off fireworks and shouted as Newsham spoke with reporters.

Ayala is a member of the D.C. Guardian Angels, which works to prevent crime. He said in a Facebook post Sunday: "How are we going to say #BLACKLIVESMATTER when you guys are killing each other."

McNeal's school honored him in a tweet on Sunday.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police. A $25,000 reward is offered. 

So far this year, 89 people have been killed, up 16% from 77 people at the same time the previous year. 

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