Three District Men Plead Guilty To Charges In Deadly 2009 Gun Battle In Northeast Washington-Two Killed, Including A 15-Year-Old Innocent Bystander; Three Others Wounded-
WASHINGTON – Three men, all from Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to charges stemming from a gun battle in Northeast Washington in which two people were killed, including a 15-year-old innocent bystander, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Sequarn Tibbs, 21, Antonio Barnes, 21, and Earl Jackson, 20, entered the pleas on the day their trial was to begin in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Each defendant pled guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter, one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of carrying a pistol without a license. The Honorable Herbert B. Dixon, Jr., scheduled sentencing for Tibbs for Aug. 16, 2013. Barnes is to be sentenced on June 28, 2013, and Jackson on July 10, 2013. All three remain in custody. The men face a statutory maximum of 30 years in prison for each of the manslaughter counts and 25 additional years for the other offenses.
According to the government’s evidence, the three defendants were part of a group, known as “Young Savage,” associated with the 37th Street/37th Place neighborhood of Southeast Washington. The violence came after the discovery on Oct. 12, 2009 that a burglary took place in the home of Jackson’s mother, located in the Clay Terrace area of Northeast Washington. A .38-caliber revolver, belonging to a juvenile co-conspirator, was stolen during the burglary.
Late Oct. 12, 2009 and early Oct. 13, 2009, Jackson, Barnes, and others, including Tibbs’s brother, Daquan Tibbs, 18, decided that Clay Terrace residents were responsible for the burglary. The group decided to travel to the home of Jackson’s mother in Clay Terrace to identify and find the people responsible and get the property back - with force, if necessary.
They rode to Clay Terrace in a taxicab, while armed with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a .40-caliber pistol and a .9-mm pistol. Once there, they decided to confront Clay Terrace individuals who were outside in the neighborhood. They demanded the .38-caliber revolver, and, although no money had been determined to be taken, they also asked for money.
A male from the Clay Terrace group advised that they did not know who was responsible for the theft, but opined that it was probably a “young’un.” Later, an older Clay Terrace resident came to the Jacksons’ house, and asked about the situation. This person also speculated it was probably “one of the little young’uns,” and left. The older man later came back and returned the gun, not saying where he got it. He said that he did not know anything about the missing money.
Sequarn Tibbs, meanwhile, joined the group in Clay Terrace. Throughout the day, several members of the group smoked marijuana. At one point, Jackson and the juvenile co-conspirator discussed whether they should wait until school was over to see if they could find the “young’uns” responsible for the theft/burglary.
Shortly before 4 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2009, the defendants and others in the group left the house. The group took their guns with them, which included a .45-caliber pistol, a .40-caliber pistol, a .38-caliber revolver, and a .9-mm pistol. They headed to a courtyard known in Clay Terrace as “Briscoe Court,” in the 300 block of 53rd Street NE. A gun battle soon began, with Sequarn Tibbs firing the first shot. During the gunfire, Daquan Tibbs was shot to death by a weapon fired by the juvenile co-conspirator. A 15-year-old boy, Davonta Artis – an innocent bystander – was shot and also killed. Three others were wounded.
In August of 2010, all three defendants learned that warrants had been issued for their arrests, and they fled the Washington, D.C. area to avoid being apprehended. Tibbs was captured on Sept. 21, 2010 in New York. On March 14, 2011, Barnes was arrested on an unrelated matter in Gwinnett County, Ga., but he used a false name to avoid apprehension in this case. He was bailed out of jail before law enforcement learned his true identity. However, on Jan. 13, 2012, he and Jackson were arrested in North Carolina.
In announcing the pleas, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives, officers and mobile crime scene technicians who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Tonolli, J.P. Cooney, Sharad Khandelwal and Heather Carlton; Paralegal Specialists Kendra Johnson, Alesha Matthews-Yette, Kwasi Fields, Kelly Blakeney, Sharon Newman, Fern Rhedrick and Marian Russell; Litigation Technology Specialist Joshua Ellen; Victim/Witness Advocates Marcia Rinker and Katina Adams-Washington, and Investigative Analysts Larry Grasso, Zachary McMenamin, Durand Odom, and John Marsh. Finally he praised the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reagan Taylor and Deborah Sines, who are prosecuting the matter.