Suspect Held in Killing of Fireman

By Elissa Silverman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2007

D.C. police arrested a suspect yesterday in last week's slaying of an off-duty city firefighter and said the killing apparently stemmed from a dispute over a card game.

Eugene Pugh, 39, was charged with first-degree murder while armed in the killing of Michael G. Holmone Jr., who was shot May 11 while visiting friends in Northeast Washington.

Holmone, 25, was playing cards when the dispute erupted in the 3500 block of Jay Street NE, authorities said. He was shot twice in the back shortly after 9 p.m., and the gunman fled the scene, they said.

Police said from the start that Holmone appeared to be targeted in the shooting. Yesterday, C.V. Morris, commander of the Violent Crimes Branch, said witnesses came forward to identify Pugh as the killer.

Authorities arrested Pugh at 11 a.m. at his job at a Safeway supermarket in the 500 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE. Pugh, who police said has no fixed address, was jailed pending a hearing today in D.C. Superior Court.

Holmone joined the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department through a cadet program. After successfully completing a year of training, he was assigned five years ago to the Engine Company 19 firehouse on Pennsylvania Avenue SE. His colleagues described him as a smart and energetic firefighter.

Yesterday the flag outside Engine Company 19 flew at half-mast, and a black drape covered the front of the firehouse. Funeral services for Holmone are scheduled for today.

"He was very good to work with," said Kim Leyland, an emergency medical technician. "He was very outgoing."

Dan Dugan, president of the D.C. Firefighters Association, said Holmone was great on the job and always eager to work overtime.

Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin, who visited Holmone's mother the day after the shooting, said he was pleased that police made an arrest.

"That's outstanding," he said. "The police put a tremendous amount of energy into this murder case, like they do in every case. It doesn't bring Michael back, but I'm proud we're going to get justice."

Staff writer Allison Klein contributed to this report.

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