This past October, Deonte Bryant was enrolled at Langston University in Oklahoma. A five hundred dollar scholarship from Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham was helping pay his way and DYRS specialist Fred Rogers thought Bryant had a “real opportunity to change his life.”
Today Bryant sits in D.C. Jail.
In an email to Homicide Watch Graham wrote of Bryant:
I strongly believe everyone, especially our young, youthful offenders, sometimes need a second chance, sometimes a third and fourth chance to get their lives on track. However, those chances / opportunities need to be coupled with verification and close monitoring by the agency. I don’t have any information why, when or how Mr. Bryant returned to DC. DYRS never communicated to me his return, although my staff made several attempts, beginning in April, 2011 to check on his status. DYRS never fully responded to those requests. Unfortunately, the first news I had regarding Deonte was when I read he was arrested.
Bryant was arrested July 5 by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and the following day presented with a second-degree murder charge at D.C. Superior Court.
Police and prosecutors believe that Bryant was one of three men involved in a mid-day Saturday gang shoot-out in a busy Northwest DC street following a street carnival. The shooting left one bystander, Robert Foster Jr., dead and injured three others, including 19-year-old Terry Jimenez, also in custody on a murder charge related to the shooting.
Like Bryant, Jimenez was believed to be living outside of D.C. In his case, Jimenez was placed in Buffalo, New York, by authorities trying to “save his life,” Leonard Sipes, a spokesman for the District’s Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency told the Washington Post.
Authorities believed Jimenez had been the target of a February shooting in Columbia Heights that killed Cardozo High student Lucki Pannell.
When CSOSA officials heard of February’s shooting, Sipes said, they contacted Superior Court, law enforcement agencies and Jimenez’s family to try to get him out of the city. An out-of-state family member offered to house him.
In March, a case involving an arrest for distributing cocaine was dismissed, Sipes said.
CSOSA called Jimenez twice a month, in addition to e-mailing the family member, Sipes said. But Jimenez went missing earlier this month — until a community leader told CSOSA that he was in town, Sipes said.
After learning that Jimenez was in the District, the agency tried to contact family members here and elsewhere, as well as law enforcement agencies, Sipes said. But the agency couldn’t find him, he said.
It seems Bryant had an equally difficult time staying away from the District.
After the fatal June shooting, MPD executed a search warrant at Bryant’s mother’s home on 14th Street NW, where they said Bryant was living. At the house they found Bryant’s clothes, an obituary for one of his friends, and photos of Bryant with friends, among other items, according to MPD’s affidavit in the case.
In an email message Monday, Graham said his scholarship to Bryant was part of his annual effort to provide a $500 scholarship to one graduating senior in every high school in Ward One.
While Bryant’s school, New Beginnings, isn’t located in Ward One, it’s sister school, Maya Angelou Public Charter School, is, and Bryant was recommended for the honor.
Said Graham in an email message Monday:
As you can imagine, I was very disturbed and disheartened to learn of his arrest and alleged involvement in the June 25th shooting.
Bryant is due in court July 25 for a preliminary hearing in his case.
Read Graham’s email about Bryant below.