A man sought in the August shooting of a Metrobus passenger was arrested Wednesday, Metro Transit Police said.
Bijon L. Brown, 20, was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. Brown is a person of interest in the case in which someone fired at a Metrobus in the 2400 block of Elvans Road SE on Aug. 21, Stessel said, and will probably face further charges.
A passenger on the bus was wounded, and Metro temporarily stopped allowing buses to travel on the road at night in response to the shooting.
At the time, police said they thought that the victim was a bystander, not the intended target.
But Stessel said that Brown and the victim were good friends and that when U.S. marshals and Metro Transit Police officers located Brown on Wednesday morning, it was in the house of the victim’s mother.
Stessel said that the victim has been uncooperative during the investigation and that authorities went to his mother’s house Wednesday morning to serve a subpoena. “When the officers arrived, everybody was scattering, obviously hiding things and people,” Stessel said. In a closet, the officers found Brown.
Stessel said police still think that the victim may not have been the intended target.
The search for Brown, who was identified soon after the shooting, received additional media attention after Mayor Muriel E. Bowser mentioned him during a news conference Sept. 8.
Bowser (D) was speaking about the proliferation of guns on D.C. streets, which she blamed for a summer surge in violent crime.
She singled out Brown as a potential repeat offender. “We want to especially follow what his experience has been in the criminal justice system,” she said.
Brown admitted two months ago to shooting a youth in the legs in a February attack on a basketball court in Southeast Washington and tossing the gun into the Anacostia River. As part of a deal with prosecutors, the only time he spent behind bars was the four months between his arrest in March and his sentencing in July.
Geralyn R. Lawrence, then the defense attorney for Brown, negotiated a plea deal with prosecutors for probation, noting Brown’s immediate confession, his remorse for the shooting, his history of being attacked in his violent neighborhood in Barry Farm and his lack of prior adult convictions. Authorities also said the victim had refused to cooperate with police.
The U.S. attorney’s office did not oppose Brown’s bid for one year of probation, and a prosecutor agreed the defendant had “made significant progress toward rejoining the community.” Brown said he fired his gun at two brothers who were walking to the store but didn’t mean to hit anyone.
The defense attorney said in court that her client “never tried to minimize his responsibility” and that Brown had enrolled in a summer program at Ballou High School — he had a 3.3 grade-point average in his previous high school — and planned to pursue a degree in mortuary science.
Lawrence said in court documents that the shooting, while “a serious crime,” also “reveals an immaturity and lack of criminal sophistication of an offender who minimizes the hardships and poverty he faced growing up under difficult circumstances.”
The shooting at the bus occurred less than a month after the plea agreement.