SW man held in slayings of father and son in NE wholesale store

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 1, 2010; 11:45 AM

A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered a Southwest Washington man held in the D.C. jail in the shooting deaths of a Northeast Washington vendor and his son.

Magistrate Judge Karen Howze ordered Christian Taylor, 25, held until his preliminary hearing Aug. 3 in the killings of Ming-Kun Chih, 59, and his son Li-Jen Chih, 32, during a botched June 23 robbery of the men's store, Lida Wholesale, in the 1200 block of Fifth Street NE.

According to charging papers, a video recording shows a man entering the store, one of several wholesale businesses in that area, and brandishing a handgun while attempting to rob the younger Chih, who was working behind the counter. The video shows the man ordering Chih to put money into a bag. As Chih begins filling the bag with money, the suspect tries to place his handgun in the bag. At that point, Chih tries to snatch the bag away. The two men then wrestle to the floor, then the suspect stands, points the gun at Chih and fires.

Upon hearing the gunshots, according to the court documents, the elder Chih rushes to his son's defense, brandishing a "long metal object," and attempts to knock the gun out of the suspect's hand. The suspect then fires at him. The gunman then flees the store, appearing to place the handgun in his waistband.

The documents identified two witnesses who saw the suspect run out of the store and get into a silver Pontiac. One of the witnesses also saw the suspect put the gun in his waistband.

A third witness was inside the store during the robbery and wrote down the vehicle's tag number, court papers say.

Police later found that the Pontiac was registered to Taylor's mother, Cheryl Taylor. Police arrived at the Taylor home with a video image of the suspect from the store's camera and identified him as the suspect in the store, according to charging papers.

Taylor was charged with two counts of first-degree felony murder while armed.

Taylor's attorney, Elizabeth Mullins of the District's Public Defender Service, argued that her client has no previous violent offenses and should be released before his next hearing. Howze initially considered the motion but declined Mullins's request after noting that Taylor had tested positive for cocaine use after his arrest.

During the proceedings, Taylor's family members and a homicide detective got into a heated exchange that spilled outside the courtroom and into a hallway. Federal marshals later escorted the family out of the courthouse.

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