Erica Jones

DC Mother Has Lost 3 Sons to Gun Violence

Rita Harris lost one son in 2002, a second son in 2009 and a third son on April 28

Last weekend, a D.C. mother got a phone call she had received twice before: Her son had been shot and was dead, the caller said.

Isaiah Harris died after he was shot early Saturday near Howard University. The 23-year-old, a devoted father, was his mother's third son to die because of gun violence.

While D.C. police continue to investigate, none of the Harris brothers' killers have been caught.

Their mother, Rita Harris, said she felt numb when she got the call saying Isaiah had been killed.

"Not again. That's all I kept saying," she said in an interview Friday in her home, which is full of family photos.

The mother of nine's son Marcus Harris was gunned down at a nightclub in Southwest D.C. in 2002. He was a firefighter who dreamed of serving his community. He was just 19 when he was killed.

"It was a blank, numb pain I never felt before," Rita Harris said.

Seven years later, in 2009, her son Michael Harris went to help fix a car in an alley off Hamilton Street NW. He was a "go-getter" who was determined to be successful.

"I said, 'I love you,' and he said, 'I love you too, ma,'" the mother recalled.

Not long after Michael Harris arrived, someone opened fire and he was hit. He was 24. 

For Isaiah Harris, the death of two of his brothers inspired him to live in the moment. He graduated from school and started a family.

"Isaiah was so funny. He loved his son, he loved his family," Rita Harris said.

Early Saturday morning, Isaiah Harris was in the 700 block of Gresham Place NW, northwest of Howard University. Someone opened fire, and he was shot multiple times. Another man was shot and wounded.

Police responded about 2:55 a.m. and took Harris to a hospital. There, he was pronounced dead.

"I couldn’t feel nothing. I was numb," his mother said.

Rita Harris said her family, her memories of her boys and her faith in God give her strength. But she wants more.

"I want justice. Please," she said.

Detectives are still working on the cases, Capt. Anthony Haythe said.

"The men and women of the homicide branch remain dedicated to solving each and every homicide," he said.

Anyone with information for police is asked to call 202-727-9099. A reward of as much as $25,000 is offered.

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