A Washington, DC man has been charged with shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy while he said he was investigating noises outside his home.
At his first appearance in DC Superior Court on Tuesday, Jason Lewis, 41, pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder while armed in connection with the January 7 shooting of Karon Blake.
Lewis, who police say holds a concealed carry permit, told investigators he was in bed early that morning when he said he heard what sounded like “someone banging on something” and didn’t know if someone was trying to come into his home, according to the arrest warrant. Lewis said he grabbed a gun and went outside, where he saw a vehicle and “‘youngsters’ in black” and yelled at them, “Hey! What are y’all doing?”
Lewis told police he fired when Karon “‘bee-lined’ toward him in full sprint,” according to the arrest warrant.
In footage from a camera at the front of Lewis’s home, Karon can be seen running and repeatedly yelling “I am sorry,” “please don’t” and “no,” according to the arrest warrant.
“The decedent yells, ‘I am a kid’ … numerous times,” the arrest warrant says.
Afterward, Lewis called 911 to report he had shot a “juvenile male who ran toward him,” the document states.
An officer arrived at the scene to find Lewis performing chest compressions on Karon. The boy was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead. The medical examiner determined Karon died of “multiple gunshot wounds to the body,” according to the warrant.
“Mr. Lewis maintains his innocence. While this is certainly a tragedy, once all the facts are heard, I believe that a jury will find that there was no crime here,” Lewis’ attorney, Lee Smith, said in a statement. “Mr. Lewis and his family offer heartfelt condolences to Karon’s family and other loved ones.”
Surveillance video from the morning of the shooting showed Karon and others had arrived in the neighborhood in a stolen Kia, got out on Lewis’s street with at least one flashlight and were approaching parked cars, the arrest warrant said.
The group had been breaking into cars, DC Police Chief Robert Contee said during a Tuesday news conference.
Surveillance video from the scene shows that Lewis fired at the Kia as one person ran toward it, and Karon then started to run away from a parked Audi he was near and was shot, according to the affidavit.
Lewis is the registered owner of the Audi, according to the affidavit.
No weapons were recovered near or on Karon, police said in the affidavit.
“The biggest grievance is that the first shot that was fired was actually fired at someone who was sitting in a vehicle, who was not an immediate threat to the person who fired the shot,” the police chief said. “So that in itself raises issues.”
“From that point, everything else that kind of unfolds is as a result of that initial shot that gets fired,” Contee said, adding that it’s unclear whether the boy knew he was running in the direction of a person with a gun.
Judge rules Lewis must remain in custody
During Lewis’s appearance in court Tuesday, Judge Judith Pipe called the shooting “an exceptional tragedy.”
Despite arguments from Lewis’s attorney that there were mitigating circumstances and no malicious forethought, Pipe ruled Lewis will remain detained pending further hearings.
“He is the first aggressor,” Pipe said of Lewis. “There was no threat to him at that point. He could have walked inside.”
Pipe also said that at the time of the shooting, Lewis had no reason to believe Karon carried a weapon and “there’s no indication the child ever came onto the property.”
Several people in the packed courtroom clapped when Pipe handed down her ruling that Lewis would remain detained. Some wore “Justice for Karon” buttons. Members of Lewis’s family were also in attendance.
Contee at the news conference was asked why it took weeks to bring charges in the case.
“There was somewhat of a self-defense claim that needed to be overcome,” Contee said, noting that Lewis “was a licensed concealed carry permit holder on his property when the shooting happened.”
“We wanted to get to the bottom of this, and I’m not going rush to judgment because of what somebody thinks I should be doing (or) how long somebody thinks the investigation should have taken,” Contee added.
Lewis is scheduled to appear in court again on February 13.
CNN’s Rashard Rose contributed to this report.