Washington DC

Man Charged in the Murder of 17-Year-Old in Brightwood Park

Mussay Rezene, 29, of Northwest, was arrested on Wednesday in the killing of Brayan Villatoro, 17, also of Northwest

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A man has been arrested in the murder of a 17-year-old, who was shot to death just a few blocks away from his home in the D.C. neighborhood of Brightwood Park last September, police announced Thursday. 

Mussay Rezene, 29, of Northwest, was arrested on Wednesday in the killing of Brayan Villatoro, also of Northwest. He was charged with first-degree murder while armed. 

Rezene also faces a count of felon in possession of a firearm for an unrelated offense, police said. 

The night of Sept. 18, 2021, officers responded to the 1300 block of Nicholson Street for a report of a shooting victim, police said. Authorities found Villatoro suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and with no signs of life. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force apprehended Rezene this week following an arrest warrant, police said.

Authorities did not immediately provide more information on a possible motive for the killing or whether the suspect and the victim knew each other. 

Villatoro was a Coolidge High School junior who dreamed of becoming an EMT, his family told News4 shortly after his death. 

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Villatoro’s murder happened amid a spike in homicides in the District. That September, he was the sixth person fatally shot in the Brightwood area in just over two weeks. Residents told News4 they feared for their safety

The city ended the year with 226 homicides, its highest number since 2003. 

The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-727-9099. 

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