Vigil Tonight for Slain Capitol Hill Intern

Friends say he may have been killed for joking with suspect

A vigil will be held Tuesday night for a man who friends say was a role model to the community. Joshua Hopkins will be remembered tonight at 8 p.m. at the spot where he was killed.

The shooting happened just after midnight Friday at the Watkins Branch Recreation Center in northeast Washington. Hopkins, who was home on summer break from Fairmont State University, was playing basketball with some friends at the park.

Circumstances around the shooting are not fully clear, but friends and family say that Hopkins liked to joke around and that he may have said something that offended the suspect.

But tonight this promising young college student will be remembered for the contribution’s he made to his community.

“He was doing very well in school, had overcome a lot of challenges to graduate from high school, enroll in college, intern on Capitol Hill,” Hopkins’ cousin, Lester Davis, told NBC4’s Jackie Bensen. “This was a young man who was an example to other young men and women in his neighborhood.”

Hopkins had interned with Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), who called his death a "horrible tragedy, senseless as such violence will always be."

“Over the course of my time in Congress numerous interns have served admirably in my office, but none has stood out quite like Joshua Hopkins," Fattah said in a statement. "Josh was a responsible and eager young man always willing to assist the staff wherever and whenever possible. He was studious, purposeful and determined to do the hard work necessary to succeed in life. Josh was well on his way to fulfilling his dream of a college education. Unfortunately, his life was cut short much too soon by the violence that robs so many young people of their full potential."


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Hopkins had overcome a lot. His mother was murdered when he was 5 months old. His mother’s sister raised him. But he thrived and was well respected.  Memorials quickly sprung up at the park. Now his family is appealing to the suspect to step forward.

“The individual that did this, they didn’t just take a nameless, faceless individual,” Davis said. “They took someone from his family, from the community. And we really would just beg for that individual to turn himself in.”

And at the same time, there are still many unanswered questions.

“Why? Just for talking? You can’t even stand there and kid with people anymore?” said Artelious Hopkins, the woman who raised Joshua. “Where’s this society going? What are we accomplishing? Nothing. We’re not accomplishing one thing by killing each other.”

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