Police charge Edmondson Village man in 11-year-old's slaying Neighbor had befriended, played with victim, other children

December 20, 1992|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,Staff Writer

All heads turned when the boy's mother pointed to the trophies.

There were three, all won by Michael Shawn Gasque for his outstanding play in the Edmondson Village Little League.

The heads that turned to look at them belonged to the boy's

relatives and friends. About 20 gathered in the boy's home yesterday.

They looked, and they kept looking, because they know the boy won't be winning anymore.

The 11-year-old boy was found Friday with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned shed in a wooded area near his Edmondson Village home.

"A happy child," said his mother, Deborah Gasque. "So full of life."

He lived with his mother and sister in an apartment in the 1200 block of N. Woodington Road.

A man who lived nearby and played basketball with the neighborhood children was charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the boy's death.

Warren C. Berry, 30, of the 3900 block of Glenhunt Road, was being held at the Southwestern District lockup without bail.

He is scheduled for a bail review hearing tomorrow.

Sam Ringgold, police spokesman, would release no details in the case yesterday. He declined to speculate about a motive.

"Detectives are holding it very close, because they've got to prosecute this guy," Mr. Ringgold said.

The boy was last seen by his family about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when he left them to play with friends. His family reported him missing to police after he did not come home.

As part of the search for Michael, friends made copies of a picture of Michael in his baseball uniform, and relatives distributed about 300 around Edmondson Village.

Then Thursday, a child who knew about the disappearance told a police officer he had heard a boy screaming the day before. Police searched the area where the screams were heard and found the dead boy.

Mr. Berry, nicknamed "Ice," had befriended Michael and other neighborhood children and played basketball with them at a nearby playground, according to police and family members.

He was apparently the last person seen with the boy.

Ms. Gasque said yesterday that her son, "my baby," was outgoing, played video games and loved sports, especially baseball.

He had won three trophies in his first two years of Little League. He was rookie of the year last year, and a member of the all-star team this year.

He also loved to dance. "The latest dances," his mother said, managing a slight smile. "Jumping around."

Michael was a fifth-grader at Rognel Heights Elementary School. His mother said he hadn't missed one day last year, and had missed only one this year. Even then, she said, he wanted to go despite an illness.

"Everybody fell in love with him," she said. "We had so many people offer to look for him."

Ms. Gasque said she had no idea why her son was killed. Maybe he knew something he wasn't supposed to, she said.

"It's senseless,'' she said, almost in a whisper.

In an unrelated case, Mr. Ringgold, the police spokesman, said no new developments occurred yesterday in the case of Tanisha Hope Allen, 7. She was found killed Friday in the 14th-floor apartment in the Lexington Terrace public housing project she shared with her mother.

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