WASHINGTON – Police officers in Washington, D.C., fatally shot a young Black man Wednesday who the department said had “brandished a firearm," prompting protests amid increased nationwide and local scrutiny over police tactics.
The killing prompted a late-night face-off between police and dozens of protesters outside a city police station. Police identified the victim as 18-year-old Deon Kay of southeast D.C.
A subsequent statement from the Metropolitan Police Department said Kay was one of two people who fled Wednesday afternoon when approached by uniformed officers who were investigating reports of a man with a gun in the area.
“During the foot pursuit, one of the suspects brandished a firearm. In response, an officer discharged their firearm one time, striking the suspect,” the MPD statement said.
The other man who fled escaped from police, and Kay was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The police statement included pictures of the handgun they say Kay had been carrying, as well of the gun of another of his companions who was arrested.
The local Black Lives Matter affiliate called for immediate protests outside the MPD's 7th District headquarters, stating in a tweet, “DC police murdered a Black man today.”
Later Wednesday night, videos posted on social media showed dozens of enraged protesters jostling with a line of police officers, who used bicycles to help form a barrier in front of the station.
The shooting comes as police killings of Black people have sparked nationwide protests and calls for sweeping police reform, prompting local efforts by the D.C. Council to bring greater transparency to such incidents.
In June, following the the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, the council passed emergency legislation requiring the MPD to release any body camera footage from any fatal shootings or use-of-force incidents within five days. The department must also release the names of the officers involved.
In July, the city released body camera footage from three separate fatal incidents dating back to 2018.