Davon McNeal, 11, was shot and killed Saturday night after a group of five men opened fire in Southeast D.C., FOX 5 DC reports.
McNeal's maternal grandfather, Tony Lawson, said his daughter, who works for D.C. Councilman Trayon White, organized a "stop the violence" themed cookout for the neighborhood. She's also associated with the Violence Interrupter program, which works with individuals previously tied to gangs who try to prevent retaliations and create peace.
John Ayala, McNeal's paternal grandfather, shared on Facebook that Davon was headed to the cookout when he stopped by his aunt's house to pick up a phone charger. Moments after Davon stepped out of the car to head inside the building, shots rang out, and McNeal was struck. "On June 29th we had plane tickets to go to Florida for two weeks," Ayala wrote. "We canceled the flight because of COVID-19. I was trying to keep him and my other grand kids safe from COVID-19 so we stayed home. If we had went on our trip he would still be here with us today."
Ayala said McNeal would only talk about "getting in the NFL," and had already played football for years. "We just had a real genuine kid who wanted to get out of the neighborhood. That's all he said is, 'I'm gonna make it,'" McNeal's football coach, Kevin McGill, told the Washington Post. "These kids’ lives are being robbed over nothing." McGill described Davon as being "on another level when he was on the field."
The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia are offering a reward upwards of $25,000 for information that could lead to an arrest. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser extended her condolences to McNeal's family.