Eight men and one woman have been indicted on conspiracy and other charges alleging that they were part of a gang that committed robberies, assaults, thefts and other crimes in Northwest Washington this year, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced today.
According to the indictment, the defendants are members of a crew called “Show Out” that committed crimes in the Chinatown, U Street and Adams Morgan areas. The indictment alleges that, since at least Jan. 1, 2012, the crew’s members canvassed the areas looking for targets of opportunity and teamed up to assault their victims, rob them of items of value, or both. The crew also is accused of engaging in “flash mob” style robberies at drug stores, convenience stores, and gas stations, in which multiple members flooded in to the business at the same time, overwhelming and intimidating the staff, and stealing items.
The indictment was returned Nov. 8, 2012, by a grand jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. It followed an extensive investigation by the MPD. Six of the defendants were arraigned today and the others are awaiting court appearances.
Those indicted include Bernard Trowell, also known as “McLovin,” 19, described in the indictment as “the self-styled president” of the group, and two others who allegedly had senior positions, identified as Deandre M. Williams, 18, and Quayshawn L. Leggett, 20.
Also indicted were: Angel Collier, 18; James D. Matheny, 18; Travis L. Morris, 20; Brandon J. Steele, 18; Wayne E. Wheeler, 20, and Ricardo J. Williams, 20, of D.C.
All of the defendants are from Washington, D.C.
The indictment charges the defendants with participating in a criminal street gang for the purpose of committing violent felonies and misdemeanors, including conspiracy, robbery, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice, and destruction of property.
“These defendants are accused of robbing, assaulting and terrorizing citizens in some of the most vibrant parts of our city,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “The investigation into these crimes led to a crew that operated on the streets and at Metro stops, seeking out people who appeared vulnerable to attack. This indictment shows our determination to work with the Metropolitan Police Department and other law enforcement partners to root out crew violence.”
“This violent gang of thugs roved around the city targeting victims for robbery and other crimes,” said Chief Lanier. “The indictment should send a message that we will investigate and pursue gangs and other criminals that terrorize our city until they are caught and they are held accountable for their criminal activities.”
According to the government’s evidence, various members of the gang committed these crimes during the month of June 2012:
-June 5, 2012: Crew members assaulted and beat a man at about 3:20 a.m., targeting him for robbery as he walked by a bus stop in the 600 block of H Street NW.
-June 5, 2012: Crew members targeted a Hispanic man at about 3:45 a.m., punching him in the area near 2d and K Streets NW, and using racial epithets. The charge stemming from this crime includes a bias enhancement under the District of Columbia’s hate crimes law.
-June 5, 2012: Crew members targeted a homeless man at about 3:50 a.m., in the area around 2d and K Streets NE, stealing his backpack, which mostly contained the man’s clothes, and attempting to steal his shoes. The charge stemming from this crime includes a bias enhancement for targeting the homeless under the District of Columbia’s hate crimes law.
-June 7, 2012: Crew members formed a “flash mob” at about 4 a.m. to steal items from a gas station in the area of North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue.
-June 10, 2012: Crew members targeted a woman who was leaving a Metro train at the Woodley Park station, stealing her iPhone.
-June 12, 2012: Crew members, fleeing a confrontation with a group of men, gained entry into an unoccupied house on U Street, where they broke a window and sprayed graffiti.
-June 19, 2012: Crew members confronted a former member at night at a bus stop in Chinatown and warned him that he would be shot if he talked to police.
-June 21, 2012: Crew members attacked a man at Metro Center and demanded money. An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
In announcing the indictment, U.S. Attorney Machen and Chief Lanier commended the work of the officers, detectives and crime scene technicians who worked on the case for the MPD. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Metro Transit Police Department, which assisted in the investigation. Finally, they praised the work of those who are handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Bednar and Clare Pozos, who are prosecuting the matter.