Washington, DC, teen’s shooting death not ‘centered around race,’ police chief criticizes misinformation

Metropolitan police in Washington, D.C. gave an update Tuesday morning on a shooting that left 13-year-old Karon Blake, who was accused of breaking into cars over the weekend, dead in the city’s Northeast area.

Chief Robert Contee spoke about the Saturday morning shooting for the first time on Tuesday to address the “misinformation” and “assumptions” about the incident floating around the community.

“There’s been too much misinformation swirling around this incident, too many people have made assumptions about this case, and it is unfair to the grieving family,” Contee said. “Spreading of inaccurate information is dangerous, reckless, and has the potential to adversely impact the investigation and the relationships in our community.”

He added that the department understands the community’s desire to learn the details of the shooting, but said sharing specific information could jeopardize the integrity of the case since the investigation is active.


Metropolitan Police released a photo of Karon Blake in August 2021 when he was reported missing. He was 11 years old at the time.
(Metropolitan Police)

The shooting took place around 4 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, in the 1000 block of Quincy Street Northeast, which is not far from Brookland Middle School, where Blake was reportedly a student. An earlier report from Metro police said Blake was confronted by a homeowner in the area after he was allegedly breaking into vehicles along the street.

The homeowner and Blake were involved in an “interaction” before the homeowner drew his firearm and shot Blake. He was reportedly performing CPR on the teenager when police arrived at the scene. Blake later died at the hospital.

DC authorities were also looking for two more juveniles who were reportedly seen running from the area at the time of the shooting.

Metro police have not identified the homeowner outside of stating he is a black man with a concealed carry permit and a legally registered firearm. Contee said the man is not law enforcement, and he added that it is normal to conceal the identity in investigations like this.

“People are making allegations centered around race, and that is wrong,” Contee said.


Metro police Chief Robert Contee criticizes those spreading rumors and making assumptions in connection with the shooting death of 13-year-old Karon Blake.
(Fox 5 DC/Facebook)

The chief would not say how many times Blake was shot or where. He also did not share any details on the confrontation and how it led to shots being fired.

In D.C., it is illegal to use lethal force in defense of a property crime. With that law in mind, Fox 5 DC asked Contee what could make the shooting legally justifiable. He said “the person has to be in fear of their life or the life of another” in response.

Contee said the facts will be worked through before being presented to a grand jury to see if the details are reasonable. Then the jury will make the call on charges, if any.

According to Fox 5 DC, it was difficult to get a warrant for the homeowner because the only person with details on what happened was him.

On Tuesday, police were still gathering evidence and were reportedly discussing surveillance video with a community member.


A Google Earth image shoes a street sign in the 1000 block of Quincy Street in northeast Washington, D.C.
(Google Earth)

Protests were held near Quincy Street Tuesday evening as participants chanted “justice for Karon” and other phrases through the streets. Before the news conference Tuesday, Fox 5 DC spoke with a man by the name of Sean Long who said he was Blake’s grandfather.

“It’s just sad. It don’t make no sense. Kids – I know kids out here wild’n out. They killing each other, black on black crime, but getting into a car or taking someone out of a person’s car, you don’t deserve to get killed,” Long said.

Long said he does not want to see any more violence as the family prepares for a funeral. He also told Fox 5 he felt bad for the shooter since he now has to live with the fact that he killed a child.


The family is also calling for justice and for the shooter to be immediately arrested.