WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee III shared his thoughts with FOX 5 after a fatal carjacking committed by two teenage girls last week, killed a Springfield, Virginia man, sending shockwaves across the world.
The victim was a husband, a father and a grandfather who immigrated from Pakistan: 66-year-old Mohammad Anwar. Uber confirmed Anwar was just doing his job – on an UberEats deliver at the time of the fatal crash.
The scene unfolded early in the evening last Tuesday, just outside of Nats Park near Van and N streets in Southeast.
A cell phone video, giving a fuller and gut-wrenching picture of what happened, went viral over the weekend. As of Monday, the video garnered over seven million views on just Twitter alone.
WARNING: Video may be disturbing to some viewers
The video is prompting people around the country and world to question what’s happening in Washington D.C. Another question raised is why the 15-year-old, at least, is not being tried as an adult?
DC Police Commander Ramey Kyle confirmed for FOX 5 on Friday that police were investigating whether one of the two suspects in last weeks’ fatal Van St. carjacking were involved in another carjacking incident.
Asked about this on Monday, Acting Chief Robert Contee III told FOX 5 as horrible as this tragedy is:
"That’s one of many. We have one for that particular - one of the individuals involved, but there are several carjackings that we have had so far this year where we’re seeing individuals that are involved in multiple, multiple cases. So clearly I think that speaks to us really examining, as a community, the accountability that’s in place. You know, how is it that someone is charged with carjacking or is responsible for carjacking commits another carjacking and another carjacking? I think it’s the larger issue than just this one particular case."
Contee went on to say the whole community needs to figure out to ensure accountability.
An official confirmed for FOX 5, the two teenage suspects are slated to appear in court again at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 31. This is Family Court as the two are not being tried as adults.
FOX 5 is told when a juvenile is arrested, it’s the D.C. Attorney General’s Office and D.C. Police who bring this case to the juvenile intake office. They go before a judge who makes an initial decision about the case to decide if the juvenile should be held while awaiting trial or be released.
FOX 5 was also told the Office of the Attorney General could petition to have the juvenile transferred to the adult system and that this usually happens on the first hearing. It’s likely that did not happen, since Wednesday’s hearing slated for this week, is not taking place within the adult system.
Youth who are found involved (or guilty) are either given probation or committed to the District via the Department of Youth Rehabilitations Services. More information on this can be found here. A person found guilty as a juvenile cannot be held past 21 years old.
FOX 5 asked the chief about wanting more accountability – whether the chief and D.C. Police are asking prosecutors to hold teen carjacking suspects behind bars? We also asked if felt the at least the 15-year-old in this case should be tried as an adult?
"The 15-year-old would not be charged as an adult. You know, obviously, this is a tragic case and, you know, charging this person as an adult [who’s] a juvenile … does not bring back the lost loved one in this case," said Acting Chief Contee," And certainly, again, the 15-year-old would not be eligible as a Title 16 case. You know, and it’s not really pointing fingers at anyone – the courts or anyone."
Contee told FOX 5 this is not a matter police can arrest their way out of.
"We have to ask ourselves as a community, is what we’re seeing with responding to how carjackers are being held accountable – is that sufficient? Does that align with the desires of our community? And I would say that if it does not – that everyone, we need to take a look at what we’re doing and how we can be more effective in ensuring that these things are fewer and far in between," he added.
FOX 5 was told D.C. laws around juveniles are so strict, the OAG’s office cannot discuss any specifics around cases involving juveniles.
In part of a statement to FOX 5 D.C., Judiciary and Public Safety Chair, Councilmember Charles Allen wrote: "… District juvenile confidentiality laws prevent me from sharing information relating to any ongoing investigation. However, I can say that any time children are involved in a serious incident like this, we must understand what more can be done to prevent it from ever happening again. Mr. Anwar should be alive today."
A spokesperson with the Metropolitan Police Department told FOX 5 as of Sunday there have been 101 reported carjacking’s in the District compared to 22 this same time last year. Additionally, we're told D.C. Police made 47 arrests compared to just two this same time last year.