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Police still seeking tips in Laylah Washington homicide

“If you know something, say something,” said Memphis Police Department Homicide Bureau Major Lambert Ross as he pleaded for help in the unsolved homicide case of two-year-old Laylah Washington during a Wednesday morning press conference.

Washington was shot and killed a year ago June 13.

“We have received countless tips, mostly saying the same thing,” Ross said. “All tips have been followed up on, but none of which led to any arrests in this case.”

Ross recapped the deadly encounter that led to the infant’s fatal shooting.

Precious moments from the life of Laylah Washington, who was two years old when she was fatally shot a year ago. (Photo: De Ja S. Simpson)

Laylah’s mother, Leslie Washington, picked her two sons up from a Subway restaurant. In the parking lot, a car driven by an unidentified person nearly collided with Washington’s vehicle. Words were exchanged between the two drivers .


After Washington retrieved her two sons, she headed South on Kirby Rd. toward her home. A dark-colored car pulled up alongside and someone inside fired shots into Washington’s car, striking Laylah in the head. Washington drove to Fire Station 52 at 6675 Winchester Rd. From there, Laylah was rushed to a hospital. She was pronounced dead two days later.

Ross detailed MPD’s efforts in trying to solve the case.

“We have formed a task force to try to get the people or person that is responsible for taking the life of a two-year-old child,” Ross said. “The governor, the city, firefighters and First Baptist Church-Broad have all pitched in to offer more than $20,000 as a cash reward for anyone who can help us bring justice to this family.”

A pitch for help in solving the case also was made on Laylah’s birthday, February 14.

“This is one of those cases that will haunt this city. This is not something you can get rid of or forget. We should not have unsolved murders in this city. We need to end this one and so many like it,” Ross said.

He specifically addressed the people in the car with the shooter.

“This is your opportunity. Come forward, no one will know. CrimeStoppers (of Memphis) is completely anonymous. You can’t carry this burden. I can guarantee that no one will pay you $20,000 for keeping this a secret.”

Ross then opened the floor for questions.

Q: What do you want to say to the gunman?

A: “I’m pretty sure you didn’t intend for that to happen, but it did. And in life you have to own your mistakes and accept your consequences.”

Q: What would you say to those who have that “snitches get stiches” mentality and are fearful of coming forward for that reason?

A: “You have to do the right thing. You can’t be afraid to tell the truth. … I will ask you until the day I leave this job to help us solve this case. I want to be able to tell Leslie Washington that we got the person responsible for killing her baby.”

(Ariel Hall, a rising senior at LeMoyne-Owen College, is an MPLOY Youth Summer Experience program intern at The New Tri-State Defender.)

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