A Washington D.C. community is in mourning after a weekend of tragic shooting deaths was marked by the loss of a young man who just weeks earlier wrote about how dangerous the city was.
He gave the poem to his football coach.
"I'm from a city where it's a blessing to see the age of 20. Where I'm from you get killed over stupid stuff such as clothes and shoes," he wrote. "Every day I hear out of town people say D.C. is so great. But in my head, I just say D.C. is full of hate."
The teenager was a linebacker on the football team getting ready to start his final year of high school. His football coach, Maurice Vaughn, told the Washington Post that the poem brought tears to his eyes and forced him to think about the epidemic of shootings plaguing Washington D.C.
Washington-Scruggs and his father Hugh Washington were the eighth and ninth people to be shot in Washington D.C. since last Wednesday. The police commissioner confirmed on Monday that most of the shootings did not have suspects.
There have been over 90 murders in the city this year, a 10% increase compared to last year.
11-year-old Karon Brown of @DCS_Stanton was murdered on Thursday.— Rep. Markus Batchelor (@MarkusSBOE) July 22, 2019
17-year-old Ahkii Washington-Scruggs of @DunbarHSDC and his father were found murdered Friday.
23-year-old Delwaun Lyons was murdered on Saturday.
This weekend. In our city.
Community leaders plan to hold a vigil for Washington-Scruggs on Friday at Dunbar Senior High School football field, where he played football. Members of his class have set up a GoFundMe page to cover the cost of his funeral. They're also hoping to get more media attention focused on the gun violence taking over parts of the city.
Vaughn said the poem that Washington-Scruggs gave him weighed on his soul as he thought about how it directly addresses the city's race relations, violence, drugs and Washington-Scruggs' own fight for survival.
"I'm from a place where white people see a crackhead and think that how us young Black kids will be. I just say to myself that won't be us. We all have it in us. We just have to dig down deep and find ourselves," Washington-Scruggs wrote in his poem. "Sometimes I wish I could agree with tourists and say D.C. is great. But you haven't been here that long. Just sit and wait — you will really see that D.C. is actually full of hate."