Police make arrest in shooting death of DC 6 year old, say dad, part of drug probe, possible target

Police also said 16 people recently indicted for drug-related crimes in the community in which the child was killed.
police officer unidentified
Police officer
(Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Law enforcement officials have made an arrest in the recent, shooting death of a Washington, D.C., 6-year-old and say the victim’s father, who has been indicted in a federal drug probe, or his family were likely targets in the fatal shooting. 

The Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday identified the suspect in the July 16 shooting as Marktwan Hargraves, 22, of Waldorf, Md. 

Police Chief Robert Contee III says Hargraves was found inside of an apartment in Southeast D.C. and has been charged with second-degree murder while armed, according to local TV station WUSA9.

Contee also announced 16 people were recently indicted for drug-related crimes in the community in which the child, Nyiah Courtney, was killed. He confirmed that the child’s father, who was wounded in the shooting, was a part of the group indicted and that Nyiah's death is related to these drug crimes.

“I think it’s possible,” Contee said when asked by a reporter whether the unnamed father’s family was targeted in the shooting, according to the news blog DCist. “Her father was out there in the block, it was after 11 o’clock at night, he ended up getting shot, he’s part of this indictment. I think you move from the realm of possibility to the realm of probability.”

The child’s mother and four others were also shot. Her death comes amid a spike in gun violence incidents in the city. Last year, 198 people were killed in the District, the highest number in 15 years. This year’s homicide count is on track to surpass that number, with 112 killings as of July 28, a 4% increase over last year, DCist also reports.

Two high-profile shootings in the days after the child’s death – at the Washington Nationals baseball stadium and on the trendy 14th Street corridor has drawn national attention to the gun violence problem in the nation’s capital.