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Press Release

District Man Found Guilty of Armed Carjacking of Handyman’s Car, Which He Crashed During A Police Chase

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Demanded the Victim’s Keys at Gunpoint

            WASHINGTON – Gianni Saunders, 21, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty today of the May 24, 2023, armed carjacking of a handyman as the victim exited his car in the 2800 block of Denver Street SE, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela A. Smith.  

            Following a week-long trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the jury found Saunders guilty of armed carjacking, armed robbery, and two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. The Honorable Errol Arthur scheduled sentencing for April 10, 2024.  At sentencing, Saunders faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

            According to the government’s evidence, at approximately 1:24 pm on May 24, 2023, the victim pulled up to the 2800 block of Denver Street SE to make repairs inside a residential building. Saunders, armed with a handgun with an extended magazine, demanded the victim’s car keys.  Saunders then drove off in the victim’s black Honda Civic. Police apprehended Saunders two days later when Forest Heights, Maryland, police officers attempted a traffic stop of the stolen car. Saunders led police on a high-speed chase before causing a multi-car crash. Police pulled Saunders from the driver’s seat after the crash and recovered a handgun with an extended magazine from the car, along with the victim’s identification documents. The police investigation uncovered surveillance video that showed Saunders parking the stolen car at his residence hours after the carjacking; Saunders’ appearance and clothing were consistent with the victim’s description of the carjacker. The government also introduced DNA evidence, which linked Saunders to the handgun.

            This case was investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department. Invaluable assistance was provided by the Forest Heights Police Department from the inception of the case through trial. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Gimenez and Iris McCranie of the Major Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.


Updated January 30, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-77