The man at the center of a shooting incident Tuesday afternoon on the Mall says he was high on PCP and was fending off a robbery in his vehicle when his assailant fired a gun, shattering a window of a rental car.
Maurice Paul Holmes, 30, who lives in Northwest Washington’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood, said in an interview that he doesn’t remember the robber getting into his car, which a friend was also in.
U.S. Park Police declined to comment on Holmes’s version of the incident, which prompted an investigation near the World War II Memorial and led authorities to various spots across the city as they searched for the white Hyundai sedan with New York license plates and a broken passenger window.
Police said it appears that no one was injured when the gun discharged in the car about 2:30 p.m. on Independence Avenue and 17th Street NW. Holmes was arrested after a brief police pursuit three hours later in Northwest and charged with fleeing police, a felony. He was released pending a preliminary hearing Aug. 25. He was not charged in connection with a firearm or a shooting.
“I’m a victim,” Holmes said. “Me running from the police only had something to do with me not trying to get pulled over in [Rock Creek Park]. I didn’t want the police to shoot me in the park.”
The incident began on Independence Avenue, where Holmes said he was attacked. Witnesses said they saw the driver punch a man in the back seat and then heard a gunshot. Holmes said his friend was trying to wrest the gun away from the attacker when it went off, and then his friend tried to push the assailant out of the car.
“My ear’s still ringing now from the gunshot,” Holmes said.
Holmes said he drove off and stopped near the Kennedy Center. He said his friend and the assailant got out and fought. Holmes’s friend then got back into the car and they left, leaving the gunman behind. Police said they found a gun on the street near the theater.
Holmes, who has an extensive arrest record in the District, including two felony convictions related to drug distribution, said he drove home to Mount Pleasant but became scared that he was being targeted when he saw a Lincoln Navigator pull up near his home. He got back into the Hyundai, he said, and drove until he lost the Navigator near Rock Creek Park.
He found himself in new trouble, he said: Police were behind him.
U.S. Park Police confirm in court documents that officers spotted the white Hyundai near the park, at Piney Branch Parkway and Beach Drive. Holmes said he wanted to be arrested in a populated area, so he led them to Connecticut Avenue and Van Ness Street in Northwest. Police said in an affidavit that he led officers on a high-speed chase and nearly struck other cars.
After police arrested Holmes, they took another person into custody in Northwest and put him in an ambulance. In a statement, Park Police said that the second person was released without being charged and was being treated as a witness. Police said they are searching for the third person who was in the car.