She would never have the opportunity to take her 4-year-old son shopping. Last week, in a lower level room of the Anacostia Neighborhood Library, Maurica was shot dead by a retired DC police lieutenant who was training her to be a full-fledged library police officer, reports said. announced the authorities. The job was meant to be a stepping stone, she told her family, toward her goal of one day becoming a crime scene investigator.
Jesse Porter, the 58-year-old former lieutenant hired by the library system to conduct training for its officers, has been charged with manslaughter in Thursday’s killing, which some witnesses described as the result of a joke that went wrong. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.
Retired DC police lieutenant charged with shooting library officer
“She had her whole life ahead of her,” Maurica’s uncle Steven Hoskins said, sitting outside their family home in Maryland five days later.
Climbing the steps behind him and through the white front door was where Maurica had grown up. As a toddler, according to her family, she dreamed of becoming President of the United States. As a woman, she was determined to build a good life for herself and her son.
Photos of her line the living room walls. Maurica as a baby. Maurica at 9 years old, dressed in stripes with a beaming smile. Maurica plays basketball, football and softball. Maurica upon graduating from high school.
Born in Beltsville, Maryland to Jamaican immigrants, she was raised in a close-knit family. Dinner was always together, and the six parents who lived in the house ate Maurica’s favorite jerk chicken. She and her mother wore matching shirts and pajamas. His brother, Radcliffe Manyan, was his best friend.
The siblings grew up together, sharing everything from headphones to hobbies. They played sports side by side, with Maurica often joking that she would have become a professional basketball player if she was her brother’s height, her family said. When they had children two years apart, Maurica and Radcliffe decided to raise their children as if they were siblings.
“She was my best friend. She was the person I called every day,” Radcliffe, 23, said. “I just wanted to catch up to her, to be more like her.”
He particularly admired her love for her work as a library police officer. Radcliffe said her sister was fascinated by TV crime shows and had an intense interest in problem solving. Maurica studied criminal justice at Bowie State University before having to drop out for financial reasons, her family said. She decided to pursue criminal justice-related jobs in government and return to school, they said.
Maurica was a security guard before being hired as a library police officer in February. Around this time, she bought her own home in Indian Head, Maryland, for the first time to live there with her father and son, family members said.
Radcliffe and Sherene Manyan, Maurica’s mother said she remembered how excited Maurica was when she talked about training to become an officer. One evening, the family sat around the dining room together, studying the names and locations of DC’s 26 libraries.
Now Sherene sat a few feet from that table, holding a framed photo of her dead daughter.
“It’s so unreal to us,” she said.
Just before 4 p.m. Thursday, Sherene said, a police officer called, informing the family that there had been a work accident involving Maurica. A team of officers were on their way to the house to tell the family more, the officer said.
Panicking, Sherene and her family begged the officer for more answers. When that failed, they turned to Google. They saw an article saying that a policeman from the library had been shot during a training session.
“Oh my God,” Sherene remembers saying. “Don’t tell me it was Maurica.”
Forty minutes later, the police confirmed that was. Her daughter was posing for a class photo at the end of a day learning how to use expandable batons, when she stopped to do her hair and remove her face mask, according to charging documents in the affair. At that point, his trainer came out of the photo line, picked up his handgun and fired at him, according to the documents.
Witnesses interviewed by police said it appeared Porter wanted to be playful, mocking Maurica for taking a long time to get ready for the photo. A DC police officer who responded to the scene said he heard Porter say something like, “I thought I had my practice gun. Why did I do this? Is she okay?” according to the charging documents.
“It’s the biggest slap in the face – that someone of this caliber can do this”, Monique Simpson, Maurica’s cousin, said Tuesday.
“Maurica knew the difference between a real gun and a fake gun, and she wasn’t a lieutenant,” Radcliffe said, adding that his sister had taught him the importance of guns. “How could he not know? That’s what kills me.
Radcliffe said he spoke to his sister hours before she was killed and she sent him a job offer for a mechanic position and urged him to apply. He changed the subject to discuss their plans for the weekend, when they were supposed to take their father to New Jersey for his birthday.
Instead of having a birthday barbecue, the family is having a funeral. And family members said they were trying to figure out how to tell Damauri that her mother would never come home.
On Tuesday, the 4-year-old walked around the living room looking like there was a party. Heaps of food were on the dining room table, and cousins and aunts were going in and out of the house.
So Damauri asked when “Maur Maur”, as he called his mother, would pick him up.
No one in the house could bring themselves to answer.