Weems is accused of shooting hotel restaurant manager Jesse Chavez, 27, who was running to help a screaming co-worker at the Clarion in Oxon Hill about 10 p.m. on Oct. 21. The two other men waited just outside, police said.
Although a hotel surveillance camera captured clear footage of the shooter, the case went unsolved for a week, with police issuing an additional plea for help from the public days after Chavez died. Police said they finally got the help they needed when someone contacted them with a tip.
That person heard the three men talking about the shooting and saying, “The guy should not have tried to play the hero,” according to court documents.
“It was a brave tipster who broke this case wide open,” Prince George’s police spokeswoman Julie Parker said.
The night of Chavez’s death, a gunman entered the hotel lobby, jumped over the front desk and demanded money from an employee.
“Outside of the hotel door, Washington would have been standing by the front of the door, sort of like a shadow off to the side where he provided the lookout for this crime,” said Capt. George Nichols, assistant commander of the Prince George’s police’s criminal investigation division.
After taking a few hundred dollars from the cash register, the gunman leaped back over the desk and ran out the door, where he encountered Chavez, police said. There was a struggle, and Chavez was shot. It was then Weems and Washington jumped back in the car and Williams drove them away, Nichols said.
Weems was arrested Saturday at his D.C. apartment on an unrelated open warrant, police said. Williams and Washington were arrested Sunday in Prince George’s. Weems and Williams face charges of first-degree murder; Washington was charged with second-degree murder.
Investigators searching Weems’s home found a handgun that matched the weapon used in Chavez’s killing, according to court records. Police said that less than a mile from the apartment, they found a torched Toyota Camry, which they say was stolen and used as the getaway vehicle.
Jesse Chavez’s sister, Vivian, said she felt a huge sense of relief when she learned of the arrests.
“This relief had me in uncontrollable tears for about 30 minutes from feelings of happiness, closure and knowing that God is looking out for us,” Vivian Chavez said.
Jesse Chavez was known for confronting troublesome customers who may have harassed workers at the Clarion’s bar. His funeral is scheduled for Friday.
“A gentleman who was trying to prevent this and assist a co-worker was murdered, and it shouldn’t have happened,” Nichols said. “It’s very tragic.”
Nichols said police are investigating whether the men may be linked to other robberies but did not provide details. “I’m glad we were able to stop them and prevent further loss and tragedy,” he said.
Gwen Crump, chief spokeswoman for D.C. police, said the department would not comment on whether the men are wanted or suspected in any robberies in the District.
Court records show this is not the first time Weems, Williams and Washington have had run-ins with the law in Prince George’s County. In 2007, Williams pleaded guilty to robbery and second-degree assault. On Sept. 5, Weems and Washington were arrested after a routine traffic stop. Police found illegal drugs and a stolen handgun in the car they were riding in, according to court documents.
Peter Hermann contributed to this report.