You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Thursday, February 9, 2023

U.S. Attorney’s Office Concludes Investigation Into Fatal Shooting in Fort Slocum Park

No Charges to Be Filed Against Metropolitan Police Sergeant

            WASHINGTON - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or District of Columbia charges against a Sergeant from the Metropolitan Police Department who was involved in the fatal shooting, in July 2022, of Kevin Hargraves-Shird, at Fort Slocum Park in Northwest Washington.

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) conducted a comprehensive review of the incident. This included a review of law enforcement and civilian eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, recorded body-worn camera (BWC) footage, recorded radio communications, forensic reports, the autopsy report, and reports from the Metropolitan Police Department.

            According to the evidence, around 4 p.m., on Saturday, July 30, 2022, MPD Sergeant Reinaldo Otero-Camacho of the Fourth District responded to a radio dispatch for a shooting that had just occurred in the 900 block of Longfellow Street, near the MPD 4th District Police Station.   According to radio broadcasts and information known to MPD, an individual involved in the shooting—during which two juveniles had been shot—had gotten into a white vehicle and fled.  Sergeant Otero observed the fleeing vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The fleeing vehicle refused to stop. After a brief chase, the vehicle struck a curb near the edge of Fort Slocum Park. At the time of the crash, a neighborhood resident was hosting a party and had set up an inflatable moon bound for several children attending the party. 

            When the car stopped, three males immediately fled. One male, Mr. Hargraves Shird, also started to flee, but appeared to return to the vehicle and rummage through it looking for something. When Sergeant Otero arrived, Mr. Shird immediately fled, as well. As Sergeant Otero exited his police cruiser, he screamed “Gun, gun, gun!” and discharged one round from his service pistol, striking Mr. Shird in the right ear. Although on-scene officers provided emergency medical assistance, Mr. Hargraves-Shird was transported to MedStar Hospital where he was pronounced dead later that evening. 

            A gun with Mr. Hargraves-Shird’s DNA was recovered a few feet from where he fell to the ground. Although many civilians at the party observed some aspects of the incident, the inflatable moon-bounce blocked the view. Based on the entry wound of the bullet, as well as Sergeant Otero’s and Mr. Hargraves-Shird’s positioning, Mr. Hargraves-Shird was likely facing Sergeant Otero at the time he fired his weapon.

            After a careful, thorough, and independent review of the evidence, federal prosecutors have found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Sergeant Otero used excessive force under the circumstances.

Use-of-force investigations generally

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office reviews all police-involved fatalities to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to conclude that any officers violated either federal criminal civil rights laws or District of Columbia law. To prove civil rights violations, prosecutors must typically be able to prove that the involved officers willfully used more force than was reasonably necessary.  Proving “willfulness” is a heavy burden. Prosecutors must not only prove that the force used was excessive, but must also prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids. 

             The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to investigating allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers and will continue to devote the resources necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are investigated fully and completely. The Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division investigates all police-involved fatalities in the District of Columbia.

Press Release Number: 
Updated February 9, 2023