‘He Deserved a Great Life': High School Mourns 18-Year-Old Shooting Victim

"Zoruan was a wonderful, wonderful young man," the executive director of the high school quarterback's school said

The 18-year-old man shot and killed at a community party in Southeast D.C. this weekend was a beloved alumni of a college prep charter school that he called his second home.

Zoruan Otto Harris, 18, graduated from National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter High School in the spring. He was the quarterback of the school football team and a valuable member of the community, school executive director Jennifer Ross said.

"Zoruan was a wonderful, wonderful young man. He was responsible. He was courageous. He was goal-oriented," she said.

Harris, the father of a 1-year-old boy, died after at least two shooters fired into a crowd of at least 150 people Saturday night.

The families of two men shot and killed in southeast D.C. speak. News4’s Darcy Spencer reports that one of the victims had recently graduated high school.

People of all ages were celebrating Dorsey Day, in honor of a resident, on the 2600 block of Birney Place SE. Harris attended the family-friendly party with a friend. Loved ones said he was an innocent bystander uninvolved in the dispute that police believe sparked the gunfire. 

Police were called to the block about 8:20 p.m. Harris and Scorpio-Rodney Alonzo Phillips, 31, were pronounced dead at the scene. Seven other people received non-life-threatening injuries, including a boy believed to be just 8 years old and two women, police said.

Students and staff at National Prep saw Harris the day before the shooting. He worked on the school cleaning crew -- in addition to holding a second job -- and had gone to a school football game, administrators said.

"He knew that he had to be responsible father, so he was working two jobs and going to college to prepare, because he wanted to be all that he could be for his son," Ross said.

Harris held his son in his arms when he accepted his high school diploma.

The two people killed in a shooting at a Southeast neighborhood event on Saturday night have been identified as police continue to investigate who fired the shots. News4’s Darcy Spencer and Derrick Ward report.

No arrests had been made as of Monday evening. D.C. police said they have not received the information they need to identify the shooters. The department asks witnesses to call police and provide cellphone video of the event.

Harris had a scholarship to start college in North Carolina in January and had a bright future, Ross said.

"He deserved a great life and it was cut way too short for no reason," she said through tears.

Harris's wake will be held Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pope Funeral Home at 5538 Marlboro Pike in District Heights, Maryland. His funeral will be held Friday, with a viewing at noon and service at 1 p.m. The wake, viewing and funeral service will be open to the public.

National Prep set up a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses for Harris' son. Harris's family set up another GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of the 18-year-old's funeral. 

Contact Us