The man charged was identified as Brandon Xavier Wiggins, 22, of Northeast Washington. He was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder while armed. His attorney, Lee A. Smith III, declined to comment Thursday. Wiggins is being detained until a preliminary hearing Dec. 20.
At the time of his arrest in the killings, court documents show, Wiggins was being held in D.C. jail on a charge of assault with intent to kill stemming from a shooting in August in the Brentwood neighborhood of Northeast Washington.
At that time, detectives already suspected Wiggins in the June 14 fatal shooting of Damon Bell, 43, who was found unconscious in a blue Honda coupe idling in the 1600 block of West Virginia Avenue NE, a residential street across from the campus of Gallaudet University. He had been shot three times.
Police said Bell had no fixed address, and a report listed a homeless shelter a half-mile away on New York Avenue as a temporary residence. His relatives could not be reached.
An arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court says Bell took the Honda, owned by Wiggins’s friend, without permission from the Brentwood neighborhood. The document alleges Wiggins later found the vehicle in Trinidad and shot Bell as he sat in the front seat.
Police said in court documents that they questioned Wiggins during their investigation but did not immediately arrest him. The documents say Wiggins denied being involved.
On Dec. 18, D.C. Police said a second arrest was made in Bell’s murder. They arrested and charged Malik Tyrone Coghill, 21, of Northeast Washington with first degree murder.
Authorities have also charged Wiggins in a Dec. 18, 2018, killing in the 1700 block of West Virginia Avenue NE. Police said Donald Lewis, 25, of Northeast Washington was found inside a residential building suffering from gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Lewis’s mother, Shadonna Lewis, 50, said Wiggins had once dated her son’s girlfriend.
Just before midnight Dec. 18, Lewis said, her son was leaving his apartment on West Virginia Avenue, along with his girlfriend and their 1-month-old son. She said her son was holding the baby carrier when he was shot in the stairwell. The infant was not harmed.
Lewis, who works in the D.C. public schools system, said her son “always liked to have fun” and had many friends in different city neighborhoods, along with relatives in Trinidad.
“He never did anything in his life to make someone hurt him,” Lewis said. She said she had never met Wiggins and didn’t know specifics about the dispute.
“It’s hard for me to believe someone would kill him,” she said of her son. “For what, over words? It’s the only thing it could be.”
Lewis said her son had three sisters, including a twin, and grew up in the District.
Justin Wm. Moyer contributed to this report.