The man suspected of fatally shooting a six-year-old girl and injuring five others – including her mom and alleged drug-dealing father – in Washington DC was arrested on Wednesday.
Marktwan Hargraves, 22, was charged with first-degree murder while armed in connection with the July 16 drive-by shooting outside of a liquor store in southeast DC that claimed the life of Nyiah Courtney.
He’s ‘no stranger to the criminal justice system,’ DC Police Chief Robert Contee III said during a Wednesday press conference.
Nyiah Courtney, 6, was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Washington DC on July 16
A mural was painted in honor of Courtney, who was about to start first grade
Marktwan Hargraves, 22, was charged with first-degree murder. He’s ‘no stranger to the criminal justice system,’ DC Police Chief Robert Contee III said during a Wednesday press conference
The area is a notorious ‘drug nexus’ where members of the MLK Crew drug organization has been ‘wrecking havoc’, Conte said.
About a dozen members of the MLK Crew were indicted on federal drug charges three days after the shooting, including Courtney’s dad and another man who was with Courtney the night of the shooting.
The day before, another person named in the federal MLK Crew indictment was shot in the same area.
It’s ‘possible’ that this was a targeted ambush connected to the MLK Crew, Conte said, noting that a definitive motive can only come from the gunman.
But the chief said the dealers who turned Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X avenues into a drug hot spot are at least partly to blame.
‘What I know is these individuals that were in that area, the individuals that were there day in and day out that the community has been complaining about bear in part responsibility for this six-year-old who we lost,’ Conte said.
‘If it wasn’t for their illegal activities in that area, perhaps they would not have been targets. Perhaps if they were part of jobs, housing or other programs that people want … maybe Nyiah would be alive today.’
These are photos of a memorial for Courtney in southeast Washington DC.
Courtney’s dad and the other alleged MLK Crew member weren’t named during Wednesday afternoon’s press conference, but Conte confirmed they were arrested on federal drug charges on July 19 that started in January.
Those named in the indictment include: Delonta Chappell, 34; Dezmond Cunningham, 27; Anthony Graves, 30; Nico Griffin, 31; Wesley Leake, 31; Leon Linsday, 36; Kevonte Randall, 24; Barry Tyson, 21, and Shawn Wooden, 39, Deshawn Loggins, 20, and Ricky Lyles, 41.
The 12th suspect is Corenzo Mobery, 39, who was arrested on related drug and firearms charges.
Chunks of the indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday, are redacted, but accusations include selling cocaine, crack cocaine, Fentanyl and PCP, among other drugs.
Prosecutors said 10 guns have been seized during the investigation, along with PCP, crack, powder cocaine, heroin, pills and over $2,500 in cash.
Courtney was killed 24 hours before a series of gunfire erupted during a mile away outside of the Washington Nationals’ stadium the team was playing.
Three people were injured in that shooting. Police told DailyMail.com that shooting is still under investigation and so far there’s no connection to the shooting that killed Courtney.
DC – like many other metropolitan cities in the United States – has been ravaged by gun violence.
So far this year, there have been 112 homicides in Washington DC, according to DC police crime stats, which four more than this time last year.
And last year saw a 20 percent increase over 2019 with 198 homicides. That’s a jump from 135 homicides in 2015 and 132 in 2010.