Teen Sentenced for Easter Monday Zoo Attacks

Mshairi "Swipa" Alkebular receives nearly seven years

A teenager was sentenced Tuesday to nearly seven years in jail for a pair of attacks on Easter Monday at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Mshairi Alkebular, 16, was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty in June to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and carrying a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors said Alkebular attacked the 14-year-old victim at about 4 p.m. on April 25, 2011, the day after Easter. The incidents took place inside and outside the National Zoo.

According to prosecutors, the victim had arrived at the zoo at about 3:30 p.m. and he saw the defendant, who he knew as “Swipa,” with a group of other young men who he recognized as being from the Barry Farm area of southeast Washington. The victim attempted to avoid the group, which eventually threw a chair at him. Then members of the group, led by Alkebular, surrounded him and punched him. Officials said Alkebular then pulled out a silver knife and stabbed the victim twice in the arm. The defendant and his group then ran away.

A short time later, the victim left the National Zoo alone through the Connecticut Avenue gate and again saw Alkebular and the rest of his group. He attempted to run away, but was chased. The victim was surrounded, punched and kicked. Prosecutors said Alkebular again pulled out his knife and stabbed the victim four times in the torso. The defendant and his group then ran toward the nearby Metro station at Woodley Park.

The victim was transported to a hospital and treated for multiple stab wounds and a fractured jaw. He immediately was able to identify his assailant and described the knife and clothing that Alkebular was wearing at the time. MPD officers subsequently went to the area of 7th and F Streets NW, where they found Alkebular and arrested him.

Judge Herbert Dixon Jr. sentenced Alkebular Tuesday to 82 months in jail, and recommended that he receive life skills training, psychological treatment, drug treatment and educational services. After serving his prison term, he will be placed on three years of supervised release.

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