Howard University Shooting: Teen Charged in Construction Worker’s Death

In the month of July, there were three fatal shootings on or near Washington, D.C., college campuses.

Howard University Shooting: Teen Charged in Construction Worker’s Death

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 14-year-old boy was arrested Monday in the fatal shooting of a construction worker on Howard University’s campus earlier this month.

Metropolitan Police Department detectives said the teen has been charged with felony murder while armed, reports Fox 29. The victim has been identified as 34-year-old Rafael Adolfo Gomez.

Howard officials said the shooting took place at a construction site near the campus hospital where work was underway as part of the school’s steam plant revitalization project. The victim was arriving for his shift around 6 a.m. on July 13 when the shooting occurred. Police believe the shooting was the result of an armed robbery.

A Howard University Department of Public Safety officer patrolling the area was the first to arrive at the scene. He administered first aid but Gomez later died at the hospital.

Before the suspect’s arrest, investigators announced they were looking for a white Nissan SUV. Howard students and staff were asked to avoid the area while police investigate. Howard’s President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick wrote in a statement that mental health resources were available on campus for students and staff.

“Violence in all forms must end, and we remain undeterred in the work of addressing the intractable problems that contribute to perpetrators engaging in tragic choices and outcomes,” he said.

Gomez’s family said he moved to the area 10 years ago from El Salvador to support his wife and family back home. A police officer who serves as a liaison with Latino groups told The Washington Post that Latino construction workers have become targets for robbery as most carry cash and some are hesitant to contact police out of fear they might become entangled in immigration issues.

2 Other Fatal Shootings on D.C. College Campuses

The incident at Howard is the third shooting death near a D.C. campus just this month. On July 5, 25-year-old Maxwell Emerson was shot and killed during an attempted robbery on the Catholic University campus, reports WUSA9. Emerson was a high school teacher from Kentucky who was in D.C. for a professional development workshop. Less than two weeks later, on July 17, 44-year-old Robert Lavender was also fatally shot near Catholic University. The two shootings were less than a quarter of a mile away from each other.

In an alert sent to students and staff, Catholic University officials said a recent graduate was also assaulted on July 13, according to The Washington Post. The victim was attacked by a group while walking from a Metro station to an off-campus residence and suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The alert also said campus officials are trying to set up a meeting with police.

“The increase in violent crime near our campus is a critical issue that requires serious attention, especially on the perimeter of our campus,” said the alert.”We have asked for emergency meetings with the MPD’s Fourth and Fifth Districts to address the serious concerns we have about the crime that has occurred just footsteps away from our campus.”

A university spokesperson said the school is seeking more frequent police patrols on Monroe Street and along the south side of campus. They also want a police representative to provide a safety seminar for freshman orientation.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the department has received the request and is working to set up a meeting.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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