WASHINGTON - A D.C. mother turned her 12-year-old son in after seeing an image of him being shared by D.C. police as the person of interest wanted for fleeing the scene of a fatal attempted carjacking this past weekend.
The other child involved – the 12-year-old’s alleged accomplice – was shot and killed by a driver D.C. police believe was targeted by the two youths.
The kid who was shot and killed has already been identified as 13-year-old Vernard Toney Jr.
"Vernard was a smart and talented student who created personal relationships not only with his schoolmates but also with many of the staff here at Kelly Miller," reads part of a school letter sent by the 13-year-old's principal on Monday. "He had a natural comedic ability and loved to make people laugh, especially when he would joke that he was the principal of Kelly Miller MS. Vernard also loved to play basketball and spend his free time on the court with his friends."
In a juvenile court proceeding held Wednesday afternoon, FOX 5 learned the 12-year-old seen fleeing this attempted carjacking was arrested the day before.
His mother called the police on Oct. 31 after seeing the suspect photo shared by D.C. police.
Some of the evidence D.C. police used to connect the 12-year-old to the fatal attempted carjacking included clothing found in his room: a black hoodie, light gray jogger-style sweatpants, and Jordan sneakers with a wide reflective tongue.
A D.C. police detective and carjacking task force member who testified in court Wednesday said the items found in the 12-year-old’s room were the same articles of clothing he was seen wearing in the surveillance photo that depicts him running from the scene.
That same detective mentioned that while there was no audio, surveillance video did capture the two kids approaching the off-duty federal security officer’s vehicle from behind, as the officer was sitting inside the vehicle, on the phone before starting work.
Police reported the incident happened on Saturday, Oct. 28 just after 10 p.m. by the 600 block of D St. Northwest. The location is outside the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C.
The detective told the judge that the surveillance video showed the two youths appearing to have a conversation. Then, both placed their right hand over their waistband, continuing toward the off-duty officer’s vehicle.
The detective said the 13-year-old was walking closest to the curb and opened the passenger-side door of the officer’s vehicle, entering from the curb.
The 12-year-old was identified as the suspect who walked around the front of the off-duty officer’s vehicle and opened the driver-side door with his hand still on his waistband. The 12-year-old allegedly said, "Get the [expletive] out. You know what this is," according to the off-duty officer.
"This is a really, really poor report," the magistrate judge repeated Wednesday, voicing her concerns after reviewing the 12-year-old's history.
This is said to be his first interaction with the D.C. court system.
It was also noted the 12-year-old has serious behavioral issues, allegedly dealing with anger since he was 5 years old. The court was told he started smoking marijuana at 11 years old.
He also allegedly made a comment after getting arrested that he hangs around negative peers and knows where to get a gun.
It's not clear how serious this comment was.
It was revealed in court that the 12-year-old's mother has tried to get her son help, and even contacted a local hospital to work with her son in an effort not to lose him to D.C.’s streets.
The 12-year-old's defense attorney told the court his mother is a very good mother because she recognized her son’s needs.
At the beginning of the juvenile hearing, the 12-year-old gave his age as "13" – only for another official to later correct the record, saying the youth is actually 12, despite what he said.
"Wow," was the judge’s response. It’s not clear why the youth gave an incorrect age.
Photo via DC police
An assistant attorney general argued for the 12-year-old to be held on the charge of attempting carjacking, arguing that even the threat of a carjacking would constitute an armed carjacking charge.
Police have yet to connect any firearms to the two kids allegedly involved.
The judge told the AAG and the 12-year-old’s attorney that she did not find substantial probability for the charge of Armed Carjacking but did find enough for the charge of Carjacking.
The 12-year-old was ordered held at YSC, the city’s secured juvenile facility at least until Monday when he is due for another appearance.