Two District Men Found Guilty of Charges In Deadly 2009 Gun Battle in Northeast Washington
Two Killed, Including a 15-Year-Old Innocent Bystander; Three Others Wounded
WASHINGTON – Two men, both from Washington, D.C., were found guilty by a jury today of second-degree murder while armed and other charges stemming from a gun battle in Northeast Washington in which two people were killed, including a 15-year-old innocent bystander, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Peter Newsham, Interim Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Sequarn Tibbs, 25, and Earl Jackson, 23, also were found guilty of three counts of assault with intent to kill, two counts of aggravated assault, and related weapons offenses. The verdicts followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Michael Ryan scheduled sentencing for Jan. 9, 2017. Tibbs and Jackson remain in custody pending sentencing.
Tibbs and Jackson had pled guilty in 2013 to voluntary manslaughter and other charges for their roles in the crimes, but the pleas were subsequently reversed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. That led to the trial and the jury’s verdict. Additionally, a third co-defendant, Antonio Barnes, 25, pled guilty on September 19, 2016 to voluntary manslaughter and other charges for his role in the crimes. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7, 2016.
According to the government’s evidence, Tibbs and Jackson 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 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 it remains unclear if money was taken in the burglary as well, 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, Tibbs and Jackson 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, and Jackson was captured on Jan. 13, 2012, in North Carolina.
In announcing the verdicts, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Interim Chief Newsham commended the work of the detectives, officers and mobile crime scene technicians who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department and also with the U.S. Park Police. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Sines; former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reagan Taylor, Sean Tonolli, J.P. Cooney, Sharad Khandelwal and Heather Carlton; Liaison and Operations Manager Linda McDonald; Paralegal Specialists Zekiah Wright, Debra Joyner, Kendra Johnson, Alesha Matthews-Yette, Kwasi Fields, Kelly Blakeney, Sharon Newman, Fern Rhedrick, and Marian Russell; Litigation Technology Specialists Leif Hickling, William Henderson, and Joshua Ellen; Victim/Witness Advocates Marcia Rinker and Katina Adams-Washington, former Investigative Analyst Larry Grasso, and Investigative Analysts Zachary McMenamin, Durand Odom, and John Marsh. Finally, they praised the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Bach and Nebiyu Feleke and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Veronica Noonan, of the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, who prosecuted the case.