Man arrested in ’10 killing has faced gun charges before

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A man arrested this week in a fatal 2010 shooting in Southeast Washington previously had faced charges — which were later dropped — of attempting to shoot a man in the head in the basement of a recreation center.

D.C. police on Tuesday announced the arrest of Rakeem Willis, 21, in the January 2010 killing of Christopher Lewis Jones. Police said Jones, 23, was found inside a vehicle in the 4700 block of Alabama Avenue Southeast suffering from multiple gunshot wounds on the afternoon of Jan. 12, 2010.

Several months after Jones was killed, police announced the arrest of Gabriel Brown, 21, of Southeast,. No court records could be located to indicate whether he was charged or convicted in Jones‘ death and court records for Mr. Willis do not mention Mr. Brown.

Mr. Willis was indicted in August on charges of first-degree murder, carrying a handgun without a license and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime of violence, according to D.C. Superior Court records. He was serving time on criminal charges in North Carolina at the time he was charged, but state court records do not indicate the type of charges he faced.

A search of area court records shows that Mr. Willis has had numerous serious run-ins with law enforcement.

About a year before the fatal shooting that Mr. Willis recently was charged with, he put a handgun to the head of a man he had gotten in an argument with, and pulled the trigger but the gun did not fire, according to D.C. Superior Court records from the 2009 case.

At the time, Mr. Willis was a student at Eastern High School in the District. He had an argument with a man at the school on April 9, 2009. The following day he confronted the same person while in the basement of a recreation center in the 5100 block of Fitch Street Southeast, and struck him several times in the head, making him to fall to the floor, according to a sworn police affidavit. He pointed the gun at the man stating “I am going to kill you!” and pulled the trigger, which clicked, but did not fire, the affidavit states.

The man began wrestling Mr. Willis to get the gun out of his hands and then broke free to run away. As he fled, Mr. Willis took aim, pulling the trigger a second time, but again the gun did not fire.

Mr. Willis was arrested several days later, but those charges ultimately were dropped after failure to secure a grand jury indictment, court records state. In the meantime, prosecutors brought Mr. Willis up on different charges relating to possession of a handgun and stolen property. He was found guilty of those charges and sentenced to 14 months in jail.

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