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Press Release

Guilty Plea in the July 2021 Death of an Innocent Bystander Caught in the Crossfire of a NW Gun Battle

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
The Victim Was Dean of Students at the Hope Community Public Charter School

            WASHINGTON – Jonathan Brown, 31, pleaded guilty today to participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed crack cocaine in Northwest Washington D.C. and for his involvement in the July 31, 2021, slaying of Kervin Sanches, an innocent bystander, caught in a shootout on a street corner controlled by members of Brown’s drug trafficking conspiracy.

            The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Scott of the Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division, and Chief Pamela A. Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Brown, aka “Tsunami,” of Washington D.C., pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal Information charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine base and voluntary manslaughter while armed. U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton scheduled sentencing for August 8, 2024.

            According to court documents, in late 2021, the MPD and FBI began investigating violent crime and drug trafficking activities near 7th Street and O Street, NW. During the investigation, Brown visited a stash house at 1221 M Street on a regular basis. Brown sold controlled substances with co-conspirators on various occasions and text messages recovered from his phone indicated that he was selling fentanyl and cocaine base. Law enforcement used undercover officers to purchase hundreds of grams of cocaine base and fentanyl from members of the drug trafficking conspiracy. 

            During the investigation, law enforcement determined the group was working together to control the drug trafficking activity in their territory. Their territory was primarily located at the corner of 7th and O Street, NW, the site of the July 31, 2021 shootout that resulted in Kervin Sanches’ death.

            On July 31, 2021, at about 11:20 p.m., Brown traveled by car to the area of 7th and O Streets NW with a loaded firearm. An unidentified male in a grey Pontiac followed Brown and parked nearby. Brown exited his car and then walked across the street to meet with a group of associates and others. As Brown approached the group, the unidentified male approached with a gun in his hand. Brown pulled a firearm from his waistband and began shooting at the unidentified gunman, who returned fire. The group scattered. Brown and the gunman continued to shoot at each other while taking cover behind trees and cars. As the gun battle continued, occupants of a white automobile parked near Brown’s car also began shooting at the unidentified gunman. Police later recovered more than 25 shell casings at the scene.

            Sanches, who had been part of the group standing on the corner of 7th and O Streets, was struck by a bullet as he attempted to flee the gunfire. Sanches, 31, died of his wound at a nearby hospital.

            This case was investigated by the MPD and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin Rosenberg, Solomon Eppel, and Erin DeRiso of the U.S, Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.



Updated June 17, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-523