FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 13, 2014
For Information Contact:
District Man Pleads Guilty to the Murder of a Taxi Driver
And Felony Assault of Two Police Officers
Defendant Fired at Officers, Forcibly Entered Apartment in Hopes of Evading Capture
WASHINGTON – Ercell D. Overton, 32, of Washington, D.C., has pled guilty to second-degree murder while armed and other charges in the fatal shooting last June of taxicab driver Solomon J. Okoroh and a subsequent shoot-out with police, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
In addition to the murder charge, Overton pled guilty on Feb. 12, 2014 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to two counts of felony assault on a police officer while armed. The Honorable Russell F. Canan scheduled sentencing for April 25, 2014. The plea agreement, contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a prison sentence of 25 years to 28 years.
According to the government’s evidence, at approximately 3 a.m. on June 4, 2013, three officers from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) were in a police vehicle and on patrol in the Adams Morgan area of Northwest Washington when they heard the sound of a single gunshot. Moments later, the officers observed a speeding Ford Explorer, “Classic Cab” taxi pass their location. The taxicab headed south in the 2300 block of Ontario Road NW, where it crashed into a parked car. As the taxicab passed by the police vehicle, officers observed a muzzle flash and heard the sound of a second gunshot from inside the passenger compartment of the taxi.
Upon impact, officers observed an unarmed man flee from the rear passenger side of the taxi. Two of the officers exited the police vehicle and apprehended the fleeing man without incident after a brief pursuit by foot.
Overton, on foot, then appeared behind the police vehicle and pointed a pistol toward the third officer, who was at the driver’s wheel. That officer exited the vehicle and took cover. Overton then ran behind the fence line of a house in the 2300 block of Ontario Road NW and discharged his weapon in the direction of two of the three police officers, who returned fire. Overton then forcibly entered a basement apartment on the block in an attempt to evade capture. MPD officers subsequently gained entry into the apartment and apprehended Overton and recovered a semi-automatic pistol in close proximity to Overton.
The taxi driver was later identified as Solomon J. Okoroh, 57, of Glenarden, Md. Mr. Okoroh suffered two fatal gunshot wounds to his back. He was taken to a hospital, where he died about two hours after the shooting. Prior to his death, he provided detectives assigned to the case a physical description of his assailant, which matched that of Overton.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen praised those who investigated the case for the MPD, including members of the Third District and Homicide Branch. He also expressed appreciation for those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Kwasi Fields. Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S Attorney George Pace, who is prosecuting the matter.14-039