Christopher Barry, the son of the late Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry, died over the weekend, police in Washington confirmed Monday. He was 36, according to CNN affiliate WTOP.
Witnesses said a man was smoking the drugs K2 and PCP about 12:10 a.m. Sunday at a residence in Southeast Washington when he began “acting crazy/different” and “dropped,” according to a police incident report. The man was taken to George Washington University Hospital and pronounced dead, the report said. K2 is a form of synthetic cannabis that’s more powerful than regular marijuana.
Metropolitan Police Department Public Affairs Specialist Aquita Brown confirmed Monday the man in the incident report was Christopher Barry.
A cause of death was not provided. The body has been taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.
Washington City Councilman Jim Graham told WTOP he got to know the younger Barry when he ran for the council seat that became vacant when Marion Barry died at age 78 in November 2014. He came in sixth.
“Something very, very good has been lost here,” Graham said. “I saw it up close, in terms of what he was able to do, and this is a tragedy.”
Born Marion Christopher Barry but known as Christopher most of his life, he grew up in the glare of his father’s headlines, both for political success and legal problems. The elder Barry was famously captured on law enforcement video smoking crack cocaine in 1990.
Christopher Barry had legal and drug problems of his own over the years, WTOP reported, including arrests for drug possession and driving without a license.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted, “Let’s remember the brightest days! Rest in peace dear Christopher!”
His father, Marion Barry, was elected four times as the city’s chief executive and was a council member in the District of Columbia for 15 years. He was revered nationally as a symbol of African-American political leadership but his accomplishments were often overshadowed by bad behavior in his personal life.
The elder Barry was convicted of possession and served six months in prison yet was elected mayor again in 1995 — one of several comebacks in his remarkable political life.