On her son’s birthday today, Juanita Coghill is not thinking about cake or presents. Henry Kelly has been dead almost seven months. With no suspect behind bars, Coghill is instead visiting his grave. And getting ready to launch an effort to help police find the person responsible.
“I want someone in court and charged,” she said. “The goal is to put pressure. We’re not going to let this pressure go. The pressure is on.”
Kelly, who would be 21 years old today, was killed March 5 in a shooting in Southeast D.C.
Known to friends as “Swagg,” Kelly was visiting with family on Buena Vista Terrace on March 5, Coghill said. His family became concerned when they heard gunshots shortly after Kelly left the apartment. A few hours later, their fears were realized when they heard that Kelly had indeed been struck by at least one of those gunshots.
Coghill said she believes someone in the neighborhood knows something about who killed Kelly. There’s plenty of street rumor, she said, but MPD needs to hear that information in order for an arrest to be made.
“They need more people to speak up. It’s very frustrating.”
In an effort to aid the investigation, Coghill is raising money for a reward fund to supplement MPD’s $25,000 reward. She hopes to add $10,000.
“We just assume he’s on the street,” she said of her son’s killer.
On Saturday Coghill and others will be handing out fliers about Kelly in Southeast D.C. and asking people to go to police if they have any information. Those interested in helping with the effort can meet at Garfield Elementary School at 2 p.m., Coghill said. A small gathering, with a guest speaker and a prayer, is planned immediately following the canvassing (about 3:30 p.m.) at the corner of 30th Street and Buena Vista Terrace SE.
MPD’s poster is below.