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Teen charged in shooting of Commanders running back pleads guilty

The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and carrying pistol without a license in the shooting of Brian Robinson Jr. A second teen goes on trial Jan. 24.

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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The 17-year-old charged with shooting and wounding Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. pleaded guilty Friday to assault with a dangerous weapon and carrying a pistol without a license as part of a deal in which prosecutors agreed to ask that the teen be committed to the custody of the city’s youth services until he turns 20.

The teen was arrested last fall in the shooting along H Street in Northeast Washington. Police have said previously two people tried to rob Robinson as he was leaving a store, but the player was able to “wrestle a firearm away” from one of the two teens before getting shot.

At a hearing Friday in D.C. Superior Court, Judge Robert A. Salerno asked the teen, who was on video conference with his parents and attorney, how he planned to plead to the two charges.

“Guilty, your honor,” the youth said. The Washington Post was able to attend the hearing on the condition that the teen’s identity was not revealed because he was charged as a juvenile.

Arrest made in connection with shooting of Commanders running back

The teen’s co-defendant, a 15-year-old, has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges and is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 24. That teen is also charged in the Oct. 13 fatal shooting of 15-year-old Andre Robertson Jr. while the youth was sitting on his grandmother’s porch in Northeast Washington.

District prosecutors revealed new details of the shooting and attempted robbery at Friday’s hearing. According to prosecutors, at just before 6 p.m. on Aug. 28, the teens approached Robinson as he was walking on the sidewalk. One of the two armed teens walked up to Robinson and pulled out gun. Robinson tried to run away. The 17-year-old then ran toward Robinson. He grabbed the teen and wrestled the gun out of the youth’s hands. At that point, the second teenager allegedly fired his weapon. Robinson was struck twice. One of the bullets landed just above Robinson’s knee, the other in his hip area — but they missed major ligaments and bone.

Robinson was sidelined for four weeks before he returned to practice and made his debut in week five.

Prosecutors said after the shooting as the teens ran away, Robinson managed to throw the gun — a pink Glock .33 caliber — into some nearby bushes and alerted police to its location.

Prosecutors said the 17-year-old’s DNA was found on the gun. The teen was arrested on Nov. 1.

The second teen was arrested days later. Prosecutors said two months after Robinson’s shooting, the younger teen used his gun in what authorities say was an unrelated fatal shooting on Oct. 13.

In the weeks following the older teen’s arrest, the judge allowed the older teen to be released from the custody of the District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) and ordered him to return home to his parents under GPS monitored, 24-hour, home confinement. At the hearing, the teen’s attorney Bryan W. Brown asked the judge for a less restrictive curfew.

“He’s doing very well and is in compliance with all of his release conditions your honor, according to social service reports,” Brown said. Prosecutors said they did not oppose any changes to his curfew. Salerno said he would allow the youth’s probation officer to determine the new curfew.

Salerno is scheduled to sentence the teen on Feb. 24. Salerno also reminded the teen that although prosecutors agreed they would not seek DYRS detention beyond three years, that as the judge, he could sentence the teen to DYRS detention for a year longer than prosecutors had agreed, until he turned 21.

Nicki Jhabvala contributed to this report.