The Washington Post

Alleged gang members indicted in killings, other crimes

A D.C. grand jury has indicted seven members of a criminal street gang located at 14th and Girard Streets NW who authorities said were responsible for several murders and shootings since 2006, including the 2010 murder of a rival gang member following an afternoon funeral in the busy U Street corridor, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Thursday.

According to the 80-count indictment, members of the 14th and Girard gang, also known as G-Rod, 1-4 and the Cut Crew, were responsible for a series of attacks including three slayings; the Jan. 9, 2009 fatal shooting of Paul Jones, 17, in the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW; the Aug. 11, 2010 fatal shooting of Sean Robinson, 19, in the 2500 block of 17th and Euclid Streets NW and the Sept. 28, 2010 fatal shooting of Jamal Coates, 21, in the 1300 block of U Street NW. Coates had attended the funeral of Columbia Heights resident Ashley McRae, 21.

Last summer, Damon Sams, 21, ofthe District pled guilty to involuntary  manslaughter for accidentally shooting McRae in the forehead while trying to put the safety on the gun he was holding. He and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Authorities said the three male victims, Jones, Robinson and Coates, were allegedly members of rival gangs.Officials say the gangs had a long history of terrorizing the neighborhoods.

Indicted on various counts including first-degree murder were Lafonte Carlton, 21; Robert Givens, 19; Devyn Black; 22; Ricardo Epps, 22; Marcellus Jackson, 23; Keir Johnson, 21 and Lester Williams, 24. All seven men are from the District.

Carlton and Givens are currently in D.C. jail. Epps and Williams were arrested Monday. Black is in custody for a 2009 shooting. Police are still searching for Jackson and Johnson.

“As alleged, these defendants were part of a dangerous and deadly criminal organization that used threats, intimidation, and extreme violence to protect their turf,” D.C. police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in a statement. “These indictments are an important step forward in dismantling this ruthless gang and disrupting their reign of terror.”

“This 80-count felony indictment demonstrates our commitment to aggressively targeting the gangs that are so often responsible for inflicting waves of retaliatory violence on our community,” said U. S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.

A hearing is scheduled Friday for Coleman, Givens, Epps and Williams before D.C. Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Motley.

District Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents the neighborhood where the gangs operated, called the indictment "profoundly important"and said it would help "break up the gang once and for all."

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 slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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