Seconds later, shots erupted on the sideline. Dozens of players, ranging in age from 5 to 12, ran into the street or toward their parents who were watching nearby.
One man, D Angelo Taylor, 36, fell to the ground. He died of a gunshot wound around 7:20 pm that night, just steps from where Cannaday said the man’s son had been practicing.
The circumstances surrounding Taylor’s death remained unclear as of Friday afternoon. DC police had not made an arrest in the incident, and the department spokesman said authorities found a phantom gun on Taylor after he was shot. Cannaday said that he had never seen Taylor at practice before that night. His son, the coach said, joined the program last year.
Taylor’s brother, Benjamin Taylor, said the family grew up in Bladensburg, Maryland, and that D. Angelo Taylor was the youngest of three brothers.
“He was just a good brother,” said Benjamin Taylor, a 40-year-old man who lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. He added that his brother had talked about starting her own lawn care service. “I hope full justice is served to someone who thought it was okay to murder a man in our community, especially in front of our children,” DC Council Member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) said in a statement. . “People are losing their minds here.”
The Triumphant Leaders Youth Mentoring Program, which teaches life skills through sports, has for years held soccer practices on an open field at the corner of 15th Street and Mississippi Avenue SE, next to Malcolm X Elementary School. Cannaday said Thursday night was one of many times violence disrupted practice.
As of Friday morning in the District, homicides are up 2 percent from the same time in 2021, when the city surpassed 200 murders for the first time in nearly two decades. Less than 12 hours after Taylor’s death, another man was fatally shot outdoors about 2½ miles away in the 1600 block of 18th Street SE.
Cannaday said he has been “begging and pleading” with police to “watch us” during practices.
After the young players scattered, Cannaday said some returned to the field in a daze. Standing in the middle of the police tape, the coach noted that few of his players were crying or hysterical.
“It’s normal for them now,” he said. “It was more like, ‘Damn, again.’ That was the expression.”
Razzan Nakhlawi contributed to this report.