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.”

Donte Manning: ‘Great to Use with Social Justice Classes’

Here’s a very heartening note I got from my Aunt JB today on my book Who Killed Donte Manning?

“Regarding your book, thanks for writing it.  I got 6 copies of it and passed them out to my sisters and a couple of friends. You have given us much to think about.  I will give a copy to the Chair of our Department to read. I think it would be great to use it in our Social Justice Classes. Your study guide in the back of the book is excellent for discussion. So a great big congratulations to you! You should be delighted to be published!”–Aunt JB

Everyone needs a cheering section! And I want to give a special shout out to Joe Ross who wrote the study guide at the back of the book.

If anyone wants to set up a study group, I’d be glad to Skype in for a session or answer e-mail questions from the group.

NOW AVAILABLE! “Who Killed Donte Manning? The Story of an American Neighborhood”

I’m happy to say that my book Who Killed Donte Manning? The Story of an American Neighborhood is finally back from the printer! For those of you who know the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., I think you’ll enjoy reading about our neighborhood’s history–not to mention Washington, D.C., during the Bush era.

For those who are interested in urban ministry, urban mission, and the Judeo-Christian understanding of cities from the Bible’s Abraham and Sarah to the contemporary era, you’ll definitely find something of interest in Who Killed Donte Manning?

Here’s a snippet from the book’s foreword:

Rose Marie Berger has written a biblical essay on the neighborhood where she lives. I know the neighborhood well, because I live there too. Her provocative discourse is a theological reflection on “place,” which is a long-standing tradition in the Christian faith—a faith that is all about incarnation, the Word becoming flesh in place and time.

The particular “place” where this story begins is in Northwest Washington, D.C., on 13th Street between Euclid and Fairmont, on the sidewalk in front of the notorious Warner Apartments where a third grade boy named Donte Manning was caught in a crossfire of bullets and killed.

In 1993, the new First Lady had come to Washington. Hillary Rodham Clinton had invited a small group of people to her office at the White House to talk about the growing tragedy of youth violence in our cities, a situation of great concern to her. It was the first time I met Hillary Clinton. The meeting had an assortment of civil rights and religious leaders, urban and community activists, and heads of national organizations that cared about children at risk. I was impressed with Clinton’s understanding of the issues, her thoughtfulness and probing questions, and her clear desire to do something that would begin to address the problem.

When the meeting was finished, I came home to my house on 13th Street NW in Columbia Heights … to lots of yellow tape. Of course, I knew what yellow tape meant: Another crime had been committed here and the scene had been cordoned off by police. I learned that during the very hour we were meeting at the White House to discuss the problems of youth homicide, a young kid had been killed across the street from my house—on the sidewalk in front of the Warner Apartments.

I recall wondering at the time how many of the other participants in that meeting came home to yellow tape. It’s not that you know all the answers more easily just because you live there. It’s just that place yields perspective.

It is that biblical insight Rose illustrates in the story Who Killed Donte Manning?, a story that begins with yet another youth homicide on the 2600 block of 13th Street NW in Washington, D.C. Her biblical reflections on her place, and mine, stretch from Genesis to Revelation, and from Washington, D.C., to the coca fields of Colombia in South America. They describe what happens at the center of “empire” and the consequences at empire’s margins, which, in our city and neighborhood, is a journey of only about 2 miles.–Jim Wallis, Foreword, Who Killed Donte Manning? by Rose Marie Berger

Video: Malcolm X Park in Winter and Glimpses of the Beloved Community

Landscape artist and resident of D.C.’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood Aaron Leavy pointed me toward this great video of from the Great Blizzard of 2010. This one was filmed at Malcolm X Park (also known as Meridian Hill) last Saturday. Says Aaron, “It’s just delightful. It’s joyous. I just loved it!”

Washington, DC Snow Storm from Es Video! on Vimeo. The video was done by local photographers Nathan Golon and Jordan Ganz.

I’ve written about Malcolm X Park in my forthcoming book Who Killed Donte Manning?: The Myth and Story of an American Neighborhood. Here’s an excerpt describing the park in summer!

Now called Malcolm X Park by locals, Meridian Hill is a meeting place for city folks from all different cultures. Salvadorans, Bosnians, and Haitians don’t share a language, but they all know how to play soccer. And the field is almost always in use. On Sunday afternoon in the center of the park there is a drumming circle. About 40 drummers gather and about 100 onlookers. It’s been going on for at least 35 years. They are often joined by members of a professional Nigerian dance troupe who are overjoyed to dance in a public space rather than on a stage for “entertainment.”

This drum and dance circle is a place where people pray with their bodies. They shout out praise. They cry and comfort one another. There is a woman who stands off to the side holding out burning incense. She blesses those who come to her, sometimes including healing touch. There are little kids and elders; gang-bangers and “suits.” There are Rasta guardians who let newcomers know that marijuana and alcohol should not be brought into the circle. People share their picnics with each other; they feed the birds, and put out bowls of water for dogs. When asked why she came here every week, one woman responded, “I need this on Sundays to carry me through Monday.” To me, this drumming circle, high on the Piedmont Fall Line, looks like John’s City of God.

–Rose Marie Berger (Who Killed Donte Manning? Apprentice House Press, 2010)

News of a Bookish Nature

I’ve been out sick this week, so this little ephemeral artifacting project–called blogging–has languished a bit. But: Here’s the news.

Who Killed Donte Manning?: The Story of an American Neighborhood, my first book, is due out in spring 2009 from Apprentice House press at Loyola College in Baltimore. It’s been an interesting process working with Apprentice House. I’m learning so much! And I’m really excited about the prospects of getting this little book into print and into the world. I’m geeky that way, I guess.

Apprentice House is only campus-based student-staffed educational publishing house in the United States. I think that’s really cool!  It’s run by Gregg Wilhelm, who also runs Baltimore’s CityLit program. Here’s part of an interview with Gregg from the Baltimore Sun:

What makes Apprentice House different from other publishing houses?

Apprentice House bills itself as the country’s only campus-based, student-staffed book publisher. All those words are important—there are newspaper publishers on campuses, there are journal publishers on campuses that are student-staffed. But we are the only book publisher in the sense that we’re not a university press, which are very different animals and have a very different mission. We’re educators first and foremost.

We are at the production stage where I am giving them a final manuscript and Gregg has assigned it to Emily, a student in Loyola’s design program, to work up cover treatments. I’ve still got some fact-checking to do, footnotes to complete, and a few research leads that I hope to track down before printing. But, otherwise, the book process is moving forward–and I’m excited!.