A 13-year-old Washington, DC, juvenile who was shot and killed during an alleged attempted carjacking of a federal officer had nine prior carjacking and robbery charges in a five-week period, District officials said.
The tragic incident is representative of the soaring crime and the District’s bewildered justice system:
- A total of 760 carjackings occurred in the first ten months of 2023, police data show.
- Sixty-five percent of those arrested for carjacking are juveniles.
- U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves, who is responsible for prosecuting those D.C. police arrests, prosecuted only 56 percent of those arrested in 2023.
Police said Vernard Toney Jr. tried to carjack an off-duty federal security officer on October 28 but was killed during the incident. Toney’s death is the second teenager fatality in a five-day span linked to carjackings. On Thursday, police arrested a 15-year-old who tried to steal a vehicle, which ended in a crash and the death of another teenage girl.
Toney and the 15-year-old girl both had prior arrests for carjackings, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Police charged Toney in May after several carjackings, robberies, and assaults in just a five-week period in Southeast Washington, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the District and potentially the nation, the Post reported. The District currently ranks at number 173 in safety on a list of 182 American cities, according to a study recently released by WalletHub.
A juvenile court judge recommended in May that Toney receive psychological and educational evaluations. Months later, in August, prosecutors dismissed one charge against him, documents reviewed by the Post show.
The judge also suggested the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) should hold him, not an iron-clad jail cell. The judge’s decision to place Toney in DYRS’s custody adheres to an overall ethos in Washington and other jurisdictions that “juvenile offenders should be rehabilitated instead of punished,” the Post reported:
In D.C., as in other jurisdictions, the juvenile justice system is designed to be entirely rehabilitative. Names and records are confidential, defendants are referred to as “respondents,” and the maximum punishment for a youth is confinement until they are 21 years old.
After being placed in the care of DYRS, Toney became another statistic in his fatal altercation with the off-duty federal officer, police say. “Guns, carjackings, 13-year-olds — [a] recipe for tragedy,” District Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday. “And that’s what we have.”
Several District residents previously told Breitbart News about how crime has impacted their lives. The exclusive interviews can be found here.