Northeast man indicted in 2013 fatal shooting of Howard University student

A little more than a year after a Howard University student was fatally shot last year, his accused killer has been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the murder.

A D.C. Superior Court grand jury earlier this week indicted Rasdavid Lagarde, 26, on eight counts, including first-degree murder while armed and robbery while armed, in the July 4, 2013 fatal shooting of Omar Sykes, 22, a senior business marketing major at Howard, as well as an assault on one of Sykes’s classmates who was with him that evening.

At a hearing Friday, Lagarde stood next to his attorney, Wendell Robinson, and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Judge Lynn Leibovitz set a Nov. 10 trial date. Prosecutor Shana Fulton said no plea offer has been made but declined to elaborate. Lagarde, wearing a D.C. jail jumpsuit and with his wrists and ankles in shackles, often smiled and shook his head as the prosecutor spoke.

According to court documents, Lagarde told a D.C. police homicide detective that he was “drunk, down on his luck and broke” when he and a friend saw Sykes walking along Fairmont Street NW with a classmate late that night, court papers say. Sykes and his friend had returned from watching the downtown fireworks display. Lagarde, who had a .380 gun, said his friend suggested robbing the pair.

Lagarde told police that during the robbery attempt, he and Sykes wrestled for the gun and it went off, court papers say. Authorities said Sykes was shot once in the chest. No information has been released as to whether the friend Lagarde was allegedly with at the time of the incident has been identified or arrested.

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Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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