Md. man, 57, charged in fatal shooting of cousin, 69

July 13, 2012

A Brandywine man was charged Thursday with fatally shooting his cousin with a shotgun after the two men argued about a spare tire, Prince George’s County police said.

The details are unclear, but police said Francis Washington Jr., 57, went for the shotgun after the argument and shot Thomas F. Washington, 69, inside a one-story house in a wooded area on Cross Road Trail. Francis Washington was charged with first-degree murder.

On Friday, Francis Washington’s blue Oldsmobile and Thomas Washington’s white Mercury were side by side on the blacktop driveway, a grim reminder to relatives of what had happened about 4:30 p.m. the day before.

“I still don’t believe it, to be honest with you,” said Michael Washington, 53, Francis Washington’s brother and Thomas Washington’s cousin, shaking his head. “I still don’t believe it.”

Michael Washington said his brother lived in the house, caring for their 93-year-old mother and working construction jobs when he could. He said Thomas Washington, who had a daughter, was often at the house to visit the family matriarch.

“He always stop by and sit with her a while,” Michael Washington said. “That’s one of her favorite nephews.”

Michael Washington said that he found out what had happened from news reports and that his main concern was making arrangements for his mother, who is now without a caregiver. He said that his mother was home at the time of the shooting but that she has Alzheimer’s disease and did not have a clear understanding of what occurred.

He said family members intended to keep her in the dark about the situation to protect her state of mind while they worked to find professional care for her.

Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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