The image, which portrays Jesus as black, hangs in Scott’s mother’s living room. Brian Scott became the first DC murder victim in 2011 when he was gunned down in Southeast DC on January 2.
“She says that’s her daddy because he has dread locks in his hair,” Scott’s mother, Bonnie, said of the photo. “Just like Brian.”
Scott was the first of 27 black men and teenagers killed before their 22nd birthdays in Washington, DC, in 2011. From the point of cold, unfeeling statistics, Scott’s murder is indicative of the majority of the 108 violent deaths in DC this year. There were 84 black males killed in D.C. in 2011. Scott is one of the 77 shooting deaths in the city. He is one of 53 cases where police have yet to name a suspect.
But tell that to his mother and she’ll wave it off. Scott wasn’t running around on the streets when he was gunned down at 13th Place and Congress Street SE, a corner where at least 17 people have lost their lives in the past decade. He wasn’t just another statistic.
It was about 7 a.m. and he was at 13th Place and Congress Street SE to pick up his cousin, Tavon Bell. Someone rolled up in an SUV and shot both of them. Scott died. Bell lived.
“Whatever happened that day, if it was mistaken identity, whatever, it was not meant for my son,” Bonnie said. “But it was clearly his time to go. I know God took him with no pain.”
Bonnie says she talks to the detectives working her son’s case frequently. If she doesn’t call them, they call her.
“I told her (the detective) you do your best. My prayers are with you. But nothing is going to bring my son back, I’m not going to call and harass her,” Bonnie said. “And vengeance isn’t mine, it’s the Lord’s. … I think it’s hard for her. I think it’s more frustrating for her than myself.”
The detectives tell her that they know who did it, but that they’re waiting on more evidence to make an arrest. There were people who witnessed what happened that morning, but they’re not talking to the police.
Bonnie said she works at an area prison and she knows how and why people become witnesses in murder cases.
“Most people who tell have something to gain. They don’t tell to be a good Samaritan,” she said. “They don’t do that until it hits home with them.”
Bonnie Scott was brought up in the area of Southeast DC where Brian was killed. But she left it for Marlboro, Md. when Brian and his sister were babies.
“There were gun wars back and forth,” she said of her old neighborhood. “They used to wail to the gun shots.”
As a young adult, Brian had been incarcerated, but he was determined to get his GED and lead a productive life, Bonnie said. “In prison he found a strong relationship with Jesus Christ,” she said. “My son had a positive impact on so many lives. … He was not in the mist of drama but it was clearly his time to go.”
She said that detectives have told her that, while they can’t elaborate, they believe her son died for no reason. If or when someone is arrested for Brian’s murder, Bonnie knows it won’t make things any easier.
“I was brought up in that area. I am going to know the parent whose child killed my son,” she said.