A bullet struck Brewer in the head. One of his friends was also injured. Authorities alleged the teen was firing at people in retaliation as part of a neighborhood beef.
The arrest brought to a close months of debate between D.C. police and local prosecutors in the District’s Office of the Attorney General regarding the strength of the evidence against the teen and what police saw as a delay in prosecutors signing off on murder charges.
Police also suspected the teen in a second fatal shooting of 39-year-old Timothy Stewart, who was also shot in a drive-by. That slaying occurred four days after Brewer’s. But local prosecutors — over the urging of D.C. homicide detectives — declined to charge the teen citing lack of evidence, law enforcement officials and Stewart’s family members have said.
At Friday’s hearing in D.C. Superior Court, the teen pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, assault with significant bodily injury and carrying a pistol without a license, according to his attorney, Taylor Dodson of the District’s Public Defender Service. As part of the agreement, Dodson said prosecutors agreed to dismiss other charges against the teen. The youth had been charged with numerous other offenses not connected to the fatal shooting — including carjacking, armed robbery and receiving stolen property.
The Washington Post generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes unless they are charged in adult court. The Post was permitted to attend Friday’s hearing on the condition that the identity of the teen — who was charged as a juvenile — was not made public.
“On these three charges, how do you plead,” Judge Robert A. Salerno asked the teen.
“Guilty,” the teen responded.
The teen was initially charged with first-degree murder. At a July hearing, prosecutors played a cellphone video they said was taken by the teen. Narrating the video as it played in court, a D.C. homicide detective said it showed the youth pointing a gun out of the window of a stolen Toyota Highlander just before shooting.
Prosecutors said investigators identified the youth as the person who took the video by his eyes and eyebrows; he was wearing a mask that covered his nose and mouth.
After Friday’s hearing, Brewer’s mother, Daneen Wright, said she was “relieved” the teen admitted guilt. “Justice is being served for my son,” she said. “We miss him every day. Now, a weight has been lifted off my shoulders to not have to relive this at trial.”
Wright said she plans to speak at the teen’s sentencing on Feb. 17. Salerno told the youth he could order him to remain with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, DYRS, until he turns 21, but he will make such a decision after reviewing reports from DYRS, prosecutors and the teen’s attorneys.