Although he has no teeth and breathes using a tracheotomy tube, 2-year-old Deondre Johnson is alive and appears to be strongwilled.
Deondre, his mother and other family members sat through the sentencing of Devon Angel Matos, 17, who was charged with shooting Deondre during an August incident that Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks called an “absolutely unnecessary tragedy.”
Matos was sentenced Friday in Prince George’s County District Court in Upper Marlboro and given 25 years in prison for first-degree assault.
Alsobrooks said she was pleased with the outcome of the case and noted that Deondre is “very spirited,” but said the incident should not have occurred.
“This is not going to be tolerated in P.G. that a 2-year-old child isn’t able to sit on his from porch without being assaulted,” she said. “There was no rhyme or reason for this, just completely senseless.”
Shawnita Stevenson, Johnson’s grandmother, said the family will struggle to move forward.
“Hearing the verdict brought a lot of fresh memories back. It was hard,” she said. “We just hope as he grows, he’ll be able to understand and get through this. With love and support from the family, he’ll be OK.”
On Aug. 22, Shaneka Johnson, 24, and her son, Deondre, were standing outside their Glenarden apartment complex when a bullet struck Deondre in the face, severely injuring his mouth and throat.
Alsobrooks said Matos had stationed himself outside the complex that evening and deliberately fired a handgun into a crowd of residents. Matos turned himself in to police custody Aug. 26.
Matos, of Fort Washington, was convicted of first-degree assault while using a handgun in April.
Det. Calvin Tyson of the Prince George’s County police said the police department is pleased with the sentencing and outcome of their investigation.
“Investigators put in countless hours into this case,” he said. “This is one of those cases that hits home, with there being a 23-month-old victim.”
After several reconstructive surgeries since the shooting, Stevenson said Deondre will undergo another surgery and will be hospitalized for 30 days beginning Monday.