WASHINGTON, D.C. – D.C. Police have doubled the reward for information in the murder of Kenyetta Nicholson-Stanley, a high school senior gunned down on October 8 by masked men aiming for someone else.
The 17-year-old girl was sitting on a playground in the 500 block of Edgewood Street Northeast when police say two men came around a corner. It was just after 8 p.m. when police say the masked men opened fire, missing their intended target and hitting the teen once in the head instead.
Police say the men were angry with the armed guards who patrol the complex and wanted to settle a score.
At a news conference to announce the new reward, Kenyetta Nicholson-Stanley’s mother spoke out, asking the community for help.
“Girlfriend, tell your man to turn himself in,” she said. “Mother, tell your sons to turn themselves in.”
Given the chance, Sharon Stanley knew exactly what she would say.
“I miss my daughter so terribly, so terribly, that I can’t even hardly sometimes adjust the focus on things I really need to do, because the pain and the void runs very, very deep,” Stanley said.
Kenyetta’s mom stood with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and several of her children Wednesday near the spot where the teen was killed.
Although veteran investigators say they are amazed this case is still open, someone did call police with vital information in the days after the murder– an anonymous tip.
“We received an anonymous call on October 12 at 2:30 in the afternoon,” said Police Chief Cathy Lanier at a news conference Wednesday. ”We really want that caller to give us a call back so we can connect you with the detective that’s investigating this case.”
Detectives say surveillance cameras have been no help.
“Why are we doubling this reward? Well, we are doubling this reward for two primary reasons,” explained Chief Lanier. “The person responsible for this cowardly shooting tried to sneak up and assassinate a uniformed security guard who is trying to keep people safe in this development. In the course of that act, (they) struck an innocent young girl.”
The people who knew Kenyetta best say the teen was just beginning to blossom when she lost her life. They describe her as a quiet, smart, inquisitive girl looking forward to college. Now, she’s gone forever.
D.C. Police believe the gunmen were out to shoot the armed guards because they were simply doing their jobs– keeping the peace, moving people along, and preventing criminal activity.
Police are anxious to hear from that anonymous tipster.