- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A D.C. man pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with what he said was the accidental fatal shooting of a woman in Southeast in September, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District said.

Damon Sams, 23, entered the plead to charges of involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced July 8. The likely sentencing range is between five and 14 years in prison.

Authorities said that on Sept. 18 at 3:30 a.m., Sams shot Ashley McRae, 21, once in the forehead while she was seated in the back seat of a car parked behind a building in the 2700 block of Bruce Place SE.

At the time of the shooting, Sams was standing with a pistol in his hand by the open rear passenger door of the car. He said he was attempting to engage the safety on the pistol before getting into the car. He touched the trigger to see if the safety was on and the gun fired, killing McRae.

Sams already had fired the pistol that night, shortly before killing McRae. He had fired the gun into the air out of anger at an unrelated incident at a club in Maryland.

Authorities said no reasonable person could have thought it would be safe to touch the trigger with a pistol pointed in the direction of another person.

McRae’s funeral drew members from rival neighborhood crews and resulted in a daylight fatal shooting on the historic U Street corridor in Northwest.