Mother of individual charged for Washington High School fights speaks out

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Kartika Putman is hoping her son turns himself into police after his involvement in the large fights that broke out at a Washington High School basketball game in early February.

“I just want him to do what’s right, if you do something wrong, you should be punished,” says Putman, mother of DeStefano Richardson, who is facing charges for his involvement in the fights at Washington High School. “Hold yourself accountable. It’s not a bad thing to turn yourself in.”

Her son, Destefano Richardson, can be seen in a video of the fights wearing a yellow jacket. He is one of five people facing charges for their involvement in the brawls. He faces charges of both battery and disorderly conduct.

Putman is disappointed that her son was part of ruining a special night for the Washington and Riley boys’ basketball teams and their families.

“They waited all year to walk with their parents, their loved ones, and there were scouts there from Purdue, from all these different colleges, so it was a big night for them,” says Putman. “We have good talent here in South Bend, so it shouldn’t be ruined by a fight.”

She’s fed up with the violence among the youth in South Bend because it affects her personally.
“We have bullet holes the size of a fifty-cent piece,” shares Putman.

Her home is riddled in bullet holes after being shot up twice, and she says DeStefano was even shot in the head just a few years ago. They still don’t have answers as to who was behind the shootings.

She hopes the gang violence will come to an end.

“It’s something that they’re doing that they’re probably thinking it’s cool but it’s not,” Putman says. “Because at the end of the day, nine times out of ten, it’s the mothers that are hurt.”

She says her son is not proud of the situation and wants to make it right.

“I want him to turn himself in, because that’s no more than right,” suggests Putman. “I’m going to make sure that it’s handled properly, and hopefully that it never happens again.”

She’s also asking her son to write personal letters to South Bend Community Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings, as well as the principals and athletic directors of both Washington and Riley. She expects DeStefano to have those sent and ultimately turn himself in sometime this week.

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