A United States Park Police officer shot and killed a teenager found asleep in a car in Northeast Washington, D.C., over the weekend, marking the second killing by a Washington police officer in less than a month.
The officer, who has not been named, fatally shot Dalaneo Martin, 17, while they were both inside a vehicle near Baker Street Northeast. The officer attempted to detain Martin, who was in the driver’s seat, but other details relating to the shooting are limited.
D.C. police arrived on the scene on Saturday morning and discovered Martin asleep in the driver’s seat of a running car. The officers called U.S. Park Police for backup, and upon running the vehicle’s license plate, they discovered that it was stolen, a Washington, D.C., spokesperson told reporters on Saturday.
Park Police Sgt. Thomas Twiname, who also stated that the car was stolen, said Park Police officers arrived at about 8:50 a.m. to detain Martin, with one getting into the backseat of the vehicle while the sergeant remained outside. The car began to move and the sergeant was “dragged” from the outside with the officer “trapped” inside.
The officer inside the car “gave verbal commands for the driver to stop.” The car slammed into a nearby home.
“After the driver did not comply, the USPP officer discharged their firearm,” Twiname wrote in a press release. “A male was pronounced dead on scene. A firearm was recovered inside the vehicle.”
Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, a local abolitionist group whose members were with Martin’s family on the scene, posted a tribute to Martin and condemnation of the U.S. Park Police on Twitter.
“Park Police shot and killed Debo, a father, son, brother, nephew & community member,” the group wrote. “Two things can be true. Debo could have been in a stolen vehicle & he didn’t have to be killed by Police in a non violent crime. @DCPoliceDept was present too. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Other members of the community were present at the scene with the family as well, including Jay Brown, a local community activist.
“It was a sad situation, an unfortunate situation,” Jay Brown said on Monday. “That broke me down.”
“Several people made mistakes that day and only one person suffers the consequences is Debo, because he lost his life,” Taylor said. “Instead of clearing the car, or trying to shine a light on a person, make a noise, use the machine [to say] ‘hands up, police don’t move’ or even snatch them out of the car … it was a startle, it was an ambush.”
Martin’s death comes weeks after a U.S. marshal shot and killed Alaunte Scott, 22, in Washington’s Highlands neighborhood on Feb. 28 while he was allegedly trying to flee, per police. D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee told reporters that officers fired after Scott pulled out a gun, but they have not confirmed whether Scott was holding the gun or if he fired it. The marshals were not wearing body cameras.