Quinzell Covington went on a shooting “caper” for the first time in the late 1990s with his cousins and friends. The tough guys who raised him in ways of the streets pulled the trigger that day. Afterward, over Chinese takeout, Covington tried to ingratiate himself with the crew by declaring that their victim got what he deserved.
He was about 13 years old. Growing up, he knew it was wrong to shoot a man. Still, Covington said, he didn’t feel remorse. What he did feel was that his crew had newfound respect for him.
By 15, he was the one doing the shooting. Over the next dozen years, Covington learned to do it well. He used 9 mm guns that held 16 bullets and Mac-10 submachine guns. He lured victims to his turf, where he could scout for witnesses and surveillance cameras, in what he called his “Miranda check” — a macabre reference to the right to remain silent.
He also knew where to aim.