A 17-year-old charged with killing a youth football coach and shooting two other people in Buffalo this summer has been no stranger to police.
Jason L. Washington Jr., who faces 17 felony charges in connection with three separate incidents since the beginning of August, has had contact with police since at least the age of 11, some of them involving violent incidents, according to police reports.
Washington was 14 when he was charged as a juvenile in May 2016 with having a BB gun on school grounds, according to a Buffalo police report.
He was charged in May 2018 — as a 16-year-old — with stabbing a 17-year-old at the Delavan/Canisius College Metro Rail station. He later took a plea and was sentenced in May of this year to one year in jail, according to an NFTA Transit Police report and court records.
After the pair of August shootings, Washington and a co-defendant are charged with robbing five people Sept. 29 on Northrup Place.
Two days later, he was shot in the hand on Lisbon Avenue in what police now believe was an accidental shooting in which another person was shot in the leg. He initially told officers he was shot while selling marijuana.
Washington has been indicted on charges stemming from an Aug. 6 shooting at McCarthy Park and the Aug. 31 double shooting near Emerson Park after a youth football game that killed Norzell "Nore" Aldridge, 36, of Cheektowaga, who coached 9- and 10-year-olds.
Tanika Lucas, Washington's mother, this week continued to maintain her son is innocent of the charges against him, including murder and attempted murder.
She said her son was defending himself at the Metro Rail station and said the BB gun was, in fact, a plastic toy gun. Lucas called any trouble in her son's past "dumb, kid trouble." She also noted that her son has not been indicted for what she described as an alleged home invasion on Sept. 29. A spokeswoman for the Erie County District Attorney's Office said the case remains under investigation.
"He ain't no saint. ... He did get in trouble," Lucas said. "But he ain't this heinous criminal that people (are) trying to make him out to be."
On Monday in City Court, Washington's robbery case was waived for action by an Erie County grand jury.
Expecting potential criticism for her comments, Lucas said she's not a mother who's "in denial about anything."
Jessica A. Kulpit, Washington's public defender, declined comment.
On May 31, 2016, then-14-year-old Washington was arrested and charged as a juvenile delinquent after police said he had a BB gun on the grounds of Academy School 131 @ 4, an alternative high school on South Park Avenue, according to a police report. Information about the disposition of that case was not available Monday, but juvenile records are typically sealed from public disclosure.
Shortly after 8 a.m. May 18, 2018, a teenager was stabbed and had his backpack stolen at the Delavan/Canisius College Metro Rail station on Main Street, according to an NFTA Transit Police report. Washington, who initially was charged with robbery and later pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault, was wearing a GPS-tracking ankle bracelet from an unspecified previous case, police were told by the Office of Children and Family Services at the time, according to the report. He was not granted "youthful offender" status in the disposition of that case, which also included the issuance of an order of protection.
The stabbing started as a fight and the other teen was the aggressor who chased her son with a hammer, Lucas said.
She said the mug shot released by the District Attorney's Office — in which Washington is smiling — was taken following his May 2018 arrest, not his recent arrest for the Aug. 31 homicide. She said she believes that photograph was released to make her son look "psychotic."
"He is silly. He likes to laugh and have fun, but he will defend himself at all costs," she said.
His mother stressed that the current cases represent allegations against her son. She also called the charges involving the Sept. 29 incident a "smoke screen." She said her family also has faced repercussions following the arrest of her son, who remains held without bail.
A day after the shooting after the football game, shots were fired into the home of a Washington relative on Shirley Avenue, Lucas said. Lucas also said she has received threats and that her children are afraid to go to school due to threats. Her 12-year-old son quit playing football because his life has been threatened, she said.
She said she takes issue with the way police and prosecutors have described the circumstances surrounding the Aug. 31 homicide.
"I'm so sick about how they're trying to trash my son," she said.
The two shooting cases are scheduled to return to county court on Jan. 29.