DC judge places 12-year-old accused in deadly attempted carjacking on 21-day psychiatric hold

WASHINGTON - A judge has ordered hospital placement for a pre-teen suspect accused in an attempted carjacking that turned deadly.

Police say the 12-year-old was with a 13-year-old in late October when they tried to carjack an off-duty federal security officer. Authorities say the 13-year-old, who was later identified as Vernard Toney, Jr., was shot by the driver and later died.

On Monday, a status hearing was held for the 12-year-old alleged accomplice. His mother turned him into police last week when images of the boy were shared by the Metropolitan Police Department in hopes of finding him.

During the hearing, a defense attorney for the suspect asked that he be released to his mother who promises to keep him under constant supervision with the exception of school. Prosecutors objected, making the argument he was supposed to be under her supervisor on the night of the deadly shooting.

A doctor who performed a psychiatric evaluation for the 12-year-old Monday recommended a 21-day hospital treatment at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington for him, which prosecutors and defense attorney agreed to. During the hearing, his attorney claimed the 12-year-old had been bullied by older teenagers at the Youth Services Center (YSC), D.C.’s juvenile detention center.

Violence and bullying at YSC are concerns Ward 8 councilmember Trayon White said he also heard about from members of the community. Councilmember White toured the facility on Monday.

"There are a lot of safety and security concerns here. I’ve only been here for three hours. So I can imagine what’s going on at nighttime and youth have expressed that to me," White said.

FOX 5 reached out to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services on these concerns. Read the full statement below:

"The primary focus of DYRS is to offer the finest continuum of care for court-involved youth and their families. We are dedicated to empowering our youth, families, and community and are taking every provision to expand our residential placement options for youth under our care. We are fully committed to ensuring the long-term safety and security of our staff members and residents. Our unwavering commitment to our mission means that we will continue to provide the necessary support in the most nurturing and least restrictive environment while ensuring public safety remains a top priority," Acting Director Sam Abed said.

The office provided additional background information, saying:

  • DYRS is committed to attracting top talent to join our team and fulfill our mission. Our unwavering focus is the safety, security, rehabilitation, and overall well-being of the youth in our care. We remain dedicated to creating an environment that enables our young people to transition into adulthood successfully.

  • DYRS works to identify conflicts and separate those youth. DYRS also engages youth with credible messengers and restorative justice professionals to help youth resolve their conflicts.

  • All youth have access to soap and hygiene products; the request has been for a particular brand of soap which DYRS is working to obtain.

  • All youth received their meals; however, some youth received breakfast late over the weekend.

  • As of today, the population at YSC is 88; however, the daily population fluctuates. The daily population is available here

  • DYRS houses youth based on several criteria, including gender, conflicts with other youth, age, size, vulnerability, and court jurisdiction (Title 16 youth).