FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 2, 2011
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Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting Teenage Friend
In Daytime Confrontation in Northwest Washington
- Defendant Fired at Least Nine Times at Victim -
WASHINGTON - Dominic B. Copeland, 21, of Rockville, Maryland, has pled guilty to charges in connection with a shooting that occurred last year in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Copeland pled guilty on November 30, 2011, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to charges of aggravated assault while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, both felonies. He is to be sentenced on February 17, 2012 by the Honorable Ann O’Regan Keary and faces up to 43 years in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, on December 11, 2010, at approximately 1:20 p.m., the victim, 19, encountered Copeland at an alley near the intersection of 13th and Allison Streets NW. Copeland and the victim had previously been friends for nine years. At first, Copeland and the victim exchanged greetings and conversed briefly. But the conversation soured, and Copeland produced a semiautomatic handgun. He fired at least nine times at the victim, and continued pulling the trigger after his firearm clip was empty. When police later arrived, they recovered nine shell casings in the alley.
The victim was hit several times by the gunfire, including in the hip, thigh and genitals area. One of the gunshot wounds came within less than two centimeters from his femoral artery, which if severed, could have resulted in a fatal loss of blood. The victim suffered excruciating pain, and for a period after the shooting, was unconscious. An ambulance took him to Howard University Hospital, where he received emergency surgery. However, the victim remains in pain to this day as a result of the wounds.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Detective John Cobb, the lead detective of this investigation, as well as Detectives Matthew Dailey, James Johnson (retired), Benjamin Oh, Robert Schmidt, and Collis Timlick; Sgt. Patrick Ecelberger; Firearms Examiner Robert Freese; Officers John Allie, Ryan Beach, Tasha Bryant, Anthony Christian, Demika Hutchings, and D. Ihejirika, and Crime Scene Search Officers James Burgess and Tirik Davis. He also thanked the Special Agent from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, who provided assistance. U.S. Attorney Machen praised the efforts of Victim Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark and Paralegal Assistant Debra Smith. Finally, he expressed appreciation to Assistant U.S. Attorney Magdalena Acevedo, who led the grand jury investigation and indicted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terry Eaton and Seth Adam Meinero, from the Fourth District Unit of the Superior Court Felony Major Crimes Section, who prosecuted this case.