Who Killed Donte Manning? Local D.C. News Report

OCT 24 2017 01:02AM EDT
by Paul Wagner, FOX 5 News
 – The shooting of a little boy playing outside of his Washington D.C. apartment 12 years ago really touched a nerve in the city. The police chief at the time was so angry that he offered a huge reward to find his killer. It is a reward that still stands today.

The murder of 9-year-old Donte Manning has never been solved, but the lead detective in the case says he came awfully close. Manning was an innocent bystander back in March 2005 when he was shot in the face on a sidewalk on 13th Street in Northwest D.C.

It was a case FOX 5 covered extensively back then. The bullet ended up getting lodged in the back of his head, according to police. After fighting for his life for over a month at the hospital, Manning died after being taken off life support.

The reward in this case shot up to $125,000.

“Every case that I have been involved in that particular neighborhood, an arrest was made without a problem, and this is the only case that I have been involved in that neighborhood where an arrest has not been made yet,” Detective Mitch Credle for the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Case/Cold Case Unit said back in August 2006.

Eleven years later, Credle said he believes based on the information that they gathered, he believes he knows who was firing their weapon on the street that night in 2005 and who that person was shooting at.

“I believe we were close to making an arrest,” he said.

Credle is now retired. He agreed to discuss this case with FOX 5 as long as names were not revealed.

“I do remember receiving a call and this individual telling me he had information in Donte Manning’s murder,” said Credle. “I talked to detectives in Virginia and detectives told me, ‘Yes, he helped us close a murder, and yes, he was a witness in a case and his information was good.’”

Credle also said, “A lot of information did check out, but I couldn’t find a set of eyes to help me confirm some of the things he was saying that occurred here that particular night.”

The investigation hinged on the theft of a gun from a deputy sheriff’s car. It is a service weapon the informant says was stolen by the man suspected of shooting Manning.

“He said once he stole the weapon, one day he responded to the area, the ABC building where Donte Manning was murdered – he went up there to buy drugs and while he was up there to buy drugs, he was robbed of that particular gun,” Credle said. “He said the guy laid him down, took his money, took his gun and he left the area and never came back. At some point later, he found out the guy who robbed him was here in this neighborhood in front of the building where the murder occurred, so he told the informant that he came up here and saw the guy – he stood on the corner and fired shots at him – and at that time he did not know until later on in the news that a kid was shot during that particular time.”

The stolen service weapon was now the key to the case.

“The gun was later recovered in the same area in the Third District, which was three blocks from where Donte Manning was shot,” said Credle.

Credle said the people he has concluded that were probably involved are not currently walking the streets.

“Based on all of the information that I gathered during the investigation, those are the two people who at this particular point could bring some type of closure to this particular case, and one is doing 40 years-plus and the other one is doing life,” the retired detective said.

Credle told us that this case still bothers him to this day.

“A lot people said Donte used to come down to the Boys and Girls Club where I was a volunteer, but I never met him personally that I can recall and it’s always just [like], ‘Why? Why it occurred?’” said Credle. “And for me to be the detective on the case, I couldn’t bring closure to it in a neighborhood where I am rooted, where I know everyone. Man, this thing is going to haunt me forever. It really is and that’s the truth.”

Podcast: Where’s the Body of Christ when Bodies Go Missing?

Six minutes of truth-telling from the awesome team at Sojourners: Where’s the Body of Christ when Bodies Go Missing? This is the nascent short podcast series that Sojourners is developing called The God Beat.

This story about missing black and Latina girls in the D.C-area speaks to me because of my work on the Donte Manning story (see Who Killed Donte Manning: The Story of an American Neighborhood) and because of Ebony Franklin, who was murdered a few blocks from my house. There are hundreds of unnamed and disappeared girls in our country.

My Sojourners’ colleagues, Dhanya Addanki and Da’Shawn Mosley, get to the root of the Christian question in their podcast.

Morning Messages

dawn-city

“Children, let us love not in word
or speech but in deed and truth.”
—1 John 3

“In whatever you do, remember
That Christ is calling you, in one
Way or another, to the service of
Love: the love of God and of your
Neighbor. Real love is demanding.”
—John Paul II

These are days of hard and demanding work for me. Dawn struggles to make it up over the skyline of row houses in D.C. The writer of John’s letter and the old sainted pope send a sustaining message.

How To Defend Your Neighbor In Bold Stripe Maxi Dress (With Discussion Questions)

Here’s a 3 minute video for discussion in your church. This incident took place in the posh upper Northwest neighborhood of Foxhall in Washington, D.C., this week.

Discussion Questions

1. What is the power dynamic between the police officers in the car and the officer on the street?
2. What do the physical positions and body language convey about the power dynamics?
3. How is technology being used?
4. How are names used? What does the use of names convey?
5. Is white privilege at play here?
6. Who is the most powerless in this scenario? Who is most powerful?
7. What is the role of an ally? Are an ally’s motives “pure”?
8. If there were bystanders, what would their responsibility be? How did the police handle themselves?
9. As a Christian watching this video, who is Christ in the scenario? Who are the followers of Christ, acting as Christ’s hands and feet?
10. Where are you in this scenario?

Read more about this incident here.

Study Resources
Handout on Power and Empowerment

On Racism and White Privilege

The Color of Christ and The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Richard Rohr: Living in the Communion of Saints

I am a man
Ernest Withers’ “I Am A Man” photo as D.C. wall mural by artist JR

“Living in the communion of saints means that we can take ourselves very seriously (we are part of a Great Whole) and not take ourselves too seriously at all (we are just a part of the Great Whole!) at the very same time. I hope this frees you from any unnecessary individual guilt—and more importantly frees you to be full “partners in God’s triumphant parade” through time and history (2 Corinthians 2:14). You are in on the deal and, yes, the really Big Deal. You are all a very small part of a very Big Thing!”–Richard Rohr, ofm

Vatican Embassy Opens Doors to Vigilers Praying for LCWR

Here’s a quick roundup by Sr. Maureen Fiedler about the prayer vigil I attended on May 30 at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., in support of Catholic women religious and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Apparently, I left too early, because Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano not only invited a few representatives inside to talk, but then came outside and spoke with the whole group!

Here’s an excerpt from Maureen’s blog at the National Catholic Reporter:

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the papal nuncio to the United States, meets with people holding a rally in solidarity with U.S. women religious outside the apostolic nunciature in Washington, DC, May 30.

Who would believe it? When a group of protestors supporting the Leadership Conference of Women Religious showed up at the Vatican Embassy on Tuesday, the papal nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, welcomed some of the group into the embassy. Two people were actually invited to sit down and chat with him. He received their petition asking that the mandate against LCWR be withdrawn … without any expectation that would actually happen, of course.

In the course of the conversation, he made it known he had been at the beginning of the LCWR board meeting. Later, he invited about 20 people into the embassy to see the chapel and offer prayers.

I don’t have much hope that his welcome represents any new approach from the Vatican to LCWR (or anyone), but it is refreshing in Washington to see any protestors welcomed by any authority for a chat, at least.

Vigano was removed from a Vatican post after cleaning up the Vatican Bank, a process in which he surely made enemies. The recently leaked documents include a letter of his to the pope, asking not to be moved outside the Vatican because of the message it would send. He may have some sympathy for LCWR, given his own experience.

Click here to see great photos and an account of Tuesday’s Vatican Embassy action.

As a fun little feature, see the photo below:

Seven Year Later, D.C. Still Asks: Who Killed Donte Manning?

A shout out to John Muller who published a piece in today’s Washington Informer about Donte Manning’s murder. His killing 7 years ago was the provocation to and lens through which I wrote my book “Who Killed Donte Manning? The Story of an American Neighborhood.” Thanks to John for keeping Donte’s memory alive. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

“More than seven years has passed since the shooting and subsequent death of 9-year-old Donte Manning but the Metropolitan Police Department is still seeking information that will lead to an arrest in the case.

Although Donte’s memory may have faded from the public consciousness, it still looms large to police and local writer Rose Marie Berger, 48, who authored the book, “Who Killed Donte Manning?” two years ago.

“Donte still haunts me,” said Berger of Columbia Heights in Northwest Washington. “Not as a ghost, but as an angel of conscience. His young life and his murder pricks our conscience as a city just like the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida has turned a mirror to the violence at the soul of our nation.”

“The fact that his killer remains free means two things: the first is that there is a young man out there who lives with the murder of a child on his conscience, and he has not made amends to Donte’s family or to society for his actions. The second is that violence is so endemic that police are not able or not willing in some cases to pursue justice,” Berger said.”–John Muller, Donte Manning’s Death Remains a Mystery

Buy a copy of Who Killed Donte Manning? by Rose Marie Berger

The People’s Prayer Breakfast: ‘Enough for Everyone’


I got up early this morning to join the People’s Prayer Breakfast held at The Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. In order to get there I had to thread my way through police barricades and closed streets around the Washington Hilton Hotel. Thousands of people of faith-based leaders were gathered at the Hilton for the annual National Prayer Breakfast, where President Obama gave the keynote address. The cost is several hundred dollars per plate.

The People’s Prayer Breakfast charged nothing. With signs pointing us to the church basement I walked in to a room twinkling with tiny white Christmas lights. The round tables were hugged tight by chairs–the room was fully occupied. Coffee and tea flowed freely. The Hari Krishna’s provided fruit salad. Someone had boiled mountains of eggs. An abundant table was set for whosoever would come and the banner stretched over head read “Enough for Everyone.”

We were led in prayer and silence by a nun from the Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Poolsville, Maryland. And Sweet-Honey-In-The-Rock-great Dr. Ysaye Barnwell sang an earth-groaning rendition of “Kumbaya, My Lord” to a generation who were experiencing for the first time the power of Black church music as a political and social force to be reckoned with.

The People’s Prayer Breakfast was not a protest against the National Prayer Breakfast, as some have framed it. Indeed, there were some leaders who were attending both. Instead, the People’s Prayer Breakfast extended the circle, opened the table, fired up the prayer, and grounded good spirituality in the lives and experiences of the humble, the poor, the young and the old, the disenfranchised and the powerless.

“To abstain from prayer is to refuse to let oneself be loved,” Brian Merritt reminded us, quoting Gabriel Marcel. I don’t know how folks at the Hilton felt afterward, but OccupyFaithDC, OccupyChurch, OccupyJudaism, OccupyJummah invited the people to breakfast and all went away marveling at the love they felt in the breaking of the bread.–Rose Marie Berger

Rose Marie Berger is a Catholic peace activist and poet. She blogs at www.rosemarieberger.com.