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Tyejuan Harkum, 24, was fatally shot Wednesday afternoon in Southeast D.C.



A mother looked at her two remaining sons, who sat on a brown couch in Northeast D.C. Wednesday evening, and told them that their 24-year-old brother was dead.

“He went to be with God,” Chariece Harkum, 40, recalled saying.

She tried to deliver the news as gently as possible, but inside she felt anguish and rage.

Her first born, Tyejuan Harkum, was supposed to spend that afternoon getting his hair cut and going to a bank to pick up a money order to help her pay rent. Instead, before 4 p.m. in the 2600 block of Naylor Road SE, he was fatally shot.

Tyejuan Harkum was the 254th person killed this year in the nation’s capital, a pace of homicides not seen since 1997. The level of bloodshed has put D.C. leaders under intense pressure to curtail violence, as hundreds of residents like Chariece Harkum grieve their slain relatives and question whether public officials could have done more to keep their families safe.

“We’re at war,” Chariece Harkum said. “This gun violence has gotten outrageous.”


Harkum said her son was killed in a random robbery. The deputy director of communications for D.C. police, Paris Lewbel, said circumstances around the shooting remain under investigation. According to a police report, a pistol was recovered at the scene.

D.C. mayor, police chief meet with House members on crime measures

With a troubling homicide toll and spikes in robberies and carjackings, the state of public safety in the District has captured the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Just this week, after hearings earlier this year grilling D.C. and federal officials on their crime-fighting tactics, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Police Chief Pamela A. Smith met with members of the House Oversight Committee behind closed doors to discuss how federal authorities can help fight crime in the city.

They discussed legislative changes — like amending privacy laws so that federally run court-related agencies can share more information about juveniles with D.C. agencies — that could take a long time to reach fruition in Congress. In the meantime, Bowser and multiple members of the city council have proposed bills to toughen laws, in particular by boosting provisions around juveniles and people charged with violent offenses who have previous convictions for violent crimes.

Most recently, a day after Harkum was killed, Bowser announced a plan to launch a “real-time crime center,” where law enforcement officers from across the region will work around-the-clock to monitor live video from hundreds of cameras.

“The goal of this is to respond faster and more efficiently when crime happens in our community,” the mayor said at the Thursday announcement.

Tyejuan Harkum was born and raised in D.C., according to his mom, and had started college at Virginia State University, where he majored in forensic sciences. He put his education on pause for a few years to help raise his young daughter, who is now 3 years old, but he planned to return to the university, Chariece Harkum said.


“His daughter was by his side like Bonnie & Clyde,” Chariece Harkum said. “Movies. Chuck E. Cheese. Amusement parks. Beaches. Bowling. Tennis. Baseball. Anything she wanted to do, he did it with her.”

Harkum said she and her son last talked on Tuesday. He let her know about his plan for the next day: the barbershop, then the bank, and then his daughter’s school.

By 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, Harkum was worried. She hadn’t heard from her son, and they talked on the phone so often, she said, that she should have heard from him by then.

She dialed his number. A stranger answered. She said she later learned he was a homicide detective.

Soon after, Harkum said, police were outside her house.

“The person whose phone you called,” an officer told her, she recalled. “They were found dead.”

“I called my son Tyejuan Harkum’s phone,” she replied.


The news started to sink in.

And soon enough, she was in her living room without her first born. Her two surviving sons looked right at her, still alive but now convulsing in pain.

Source: Washington Post

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