In an interview with 9NEWS NOW, frightened relatives of 9 year-old Oscar Fuentes said the 4th grader was shot by angry gang members.
Alicia Villlalobos, Oscar's aunt says she, the boy, and his parents were accosted by several gangmembers outside their apartment building in the 1400 block of Columbia Road NW around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
The gangmembers said, "Give us money give us money," explained Alicia. The scared family climbed the stairs to their second floor apartment and went inside. The two suspects followed the family and kept demanding money while standing outside the apartment door, she adds.
Alica says one suspect then shot through the door, "Oscar was looking through the peephole when we heard a loud bang, he ran into his room and them back to us, lifted up his shirt and showed us where he had been shot," said Alicia. Oscar was given first aid on the scene by police but the nine year old was declared dead at a nearby hospital.
Police have taken several persons into custody but no one has been charged with the crime.
Scared and angry neighbors say the building is plagued by security problems: The front door is broken and allows anyone access to the building, there are homeless people, drunks, drug addicts and gang members hanging out in the lobby and front steps say neighbors who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.
"These are classic signs of slum lord behavior," said DC Councilmember Jim Graham. Graham went to the building early Sunday morning to speak to residents of the slowly gentifrying neighborhood which has seen millions of dollars of investment over the past few years.
Sources inside the district government tell 9NEWS NOW the owner of the building is herself scared because MS 13 gangmembers that live in her building have threatened to kill her if she tries to evict them. As far is the door is concerned, she claims a new door had been ordered prior to the shooting and was going to be installed next week.