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'Words can't explain who he was' | Mother of DC teen killed at block party mourns

Christopher Brown, 17, was killed Sunday morning during a shooting that injured 20 others in Southeast D.C.

WASHINGTON — Just hours after losing her oldest son to a mass shooting at a neighborhood block party in Southeast D.C. on Sunday, the mother of Christopher Brown, 17, came to the scene where her son took some of his final breaths. At the time, the crime scene was still very much active.

RELATED: Police: 1 dead, 20 injured after shooting at Southeast DC cookout

“Two days ago, I literally said ‘I love you’ and I hung up,” Artecka Brown said.“17, my oldest. I have five boys, so just an innocent king's life taken for whatever so reason."

Christopher was one of the victims that were shot during the neighborhood block party around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, near the 3300 block of Dubois Place in Southeast in Ward 7.

The incident claimed Christopher's life and injured 21 others, 12 of which are women. One of those victims includes an off-duty 1st District Police officer, who was shot and is currently struggling for her life, D.C. police said.

Multiple detectives and forensic squads were still at the scene into Sunday morning trying to put the pieces together.

Christopher was a young man, a father and a family favorite. 

“It’s not just the brothers, the cousins. He has a one-year-old son, another child on the way. Cousins, friends, they’re going to miss him and they’re not handling it too well. Honestly, I don’t understand how my child’s life is just gone,” Brown added.

His grandmother, Patrice Brown, said she’d been caring for Christopher since birth. She’s now begging the community to simply care. 

“You need to stop; because you took away something that belonged to me. Something that I loved so much and so dear to me. I know this isn’t the only child, won’t be the last child, but they need to stop this stuff.” the elder Brown added.

Artecka Brown said she has no idea what the days to come will be like. “I’m only 33, I’m 33-years-old, I’m a young adult, I do not know. I have friends, people in the community who support me, I don’t know where to begin.”

The only unfortunate certainty is Christopher is gone, and her heart is broken. “Words can’t explain who he was,” added Brown.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said Sunday morning that there were hundreds of people at the Saturday night gathering.

He said there were officers on the scene, but apparently not enough to break up the gathering.

“My understanding and this is preliminary and subject to change so take it with a grain of salt please, is that there were officers here. There were not sufficient officers to be able to move a crowd of that size," Newsham said.

The District's current COVID-19 guidelines prohibit more than 50 people to be gathered at one time.

"Preliminarily there were police officers on the scene. I want to confirm that, I want to talk to the management team over here and see if we were doing everything we possibly could," Newsham said. "Because we can't tolerate these types of gatherings in our city during COVID-19, it's just too dangerous."

“I won’t blame the police for allowing this to happen I blame the individuals who made a decision to have an activity in excess of the mayor's directive regarding social distancing and kind of keeping the coronavirus transmission down. The police can only do but so much," ANC Commissioner 7B01 Patricia Howard – Chittams said.

Over 20 responding units arrived at the scene, including paramedics, ambulances and emergency supervisors.

D.C. police said they are looking for multiple shooters. At this time, no details were released on a description of the suspects.

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