Investigators believe that 15-year-old Isaiah Harris was killed this week by a man seeking to avenge his brother’s death.
That man, Eugene Kelly, appeared in court Thursday afternoon, charged with first-degree premeditated murder. According to charging papers in the case, investigators believe that Kelly shot Harris and another young man after stating to a witness that someone had killed his brother in the same neighborhood.
“Someone’s gonna pay, I’m gonna go get my gun,” the witness reported Kelly said the night of the shooting.
Assistant US Attorney Michael Ortwein declined to comment on the case and would not identify Kelly’s deceased brother.
Harris, an eighth grade student at Garnett Patterson Middle School in Northwest D.C., died after being shot in the buttock. His friend, who was shot in the leg, survived. The two boys were walking home at 10:15 on Monday night from another friend’s home.
A witness said a man, identified as Kelly, passed the boys while riding a BMX-style bike, but then stopped, turned toward them, aimed a gun, and fired.
Both boys fled. The survivor felt a pain in his leg, but kept running until he made it to a hiding place. He then realized that Harris was not with him.
Kelly’s defense attorney, Eugene Ohm, argued against the charges presented to Kelly today. He said it was unlikely that someone could die of a simple gunshot wound to the buttock and that there must be other medical conditions that contributed to the boy’s death that weren’t disclosed in the charging documents.
Ohm also said that though the government argues that the shooting was retaliatory, the charging documents do not establish what, exactly, the retaliation was for.