It was just before 2 a.m. on June 13 when the sound of gunshots sent a person running into a bedroom of an apartment inside the Tyler House Apartment building in Northwest Washington.
Once inside, the person saw Devin Butler, 24, lying on the floor. Standing over the body and holding a gun was 21-year-old George Anderson, the person told police, according to court documents. The witness, who is not named in court papers, said Anderson yelled out.
“I’m Zeus,” Anderson said, according to the court papers, and then his eyes rolled back. As the witness tackled Anderson and others in the apartment called police, Anderson yelled again.
“I’m a killer,” he said, according to the documents. “What you gonna tell on me? Get off me. I’m Zeus. I’m Allah. What happened for respect? I’m a killer.”
Then, according to the witness, Anderson began speaking in what the witness described as Arabic.
Anderson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder while armed in Butler’s death. An autopsy showed Butler had been shot once in the head. At a brief hearing Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court in front of Judge Todd E. Edelman, Anderson — who according to charging documents has a history of hospital stays for psychological disorders — was ordered to St. Elizabeths, the District’s psychological hospital, for evaluation.
It remains unclear what happened leading up to Butler’s death inside the two-bedroom apartment Anderson shared with his mother.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Butler’s mother, Maria Butler, said her son went over to the apartment once or twice a week to hang out with his friends.
“They were all friends. I didn’t know anything about his history of mental illness or drug use,” she said of Anderson.
According to charging documents, four people including Anderson, Butler, the main witness and another person, were in the apartment smoking marijuana. One witness, according to police, had left the bedroom to retrieve an ashtray when the sound of gunshots rang out. One person grabbed Anderson from behind and pushed him to the floor and held him as the other witness ran to call police.
Witnesses told police that Anderson had been having hallucinations and had recently taken a drug that was “laced with something” and as a result had been acting “strangely.” The witness said Anderson had referred to himself as a killer and threatened to kill people.
According to a report filed with the court Tuesday following an evaluation by D.C. psychologist Teresa Grant, Anderson had been diagnosed with substance-induced psychotic disorder and cannabis abuse with psychotic disorder.
Grant wrote that city records showed Anderson’s mother had called police last July to have her son taken to the District’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program. Anderson’s mother reported that her son was running around the streets wearing a hospital gown, banging on neighbor’s doors.
The night before that incident, Grant wrote, Anderson was transported to Howard University Hospital because of “bizarre behaviors.” He was admitted to the hospital as a voluntary patient.
It was unclear, Grant wrote, whether Anderson was discharged or left the hospital against medical advice.
A month after that incident, Anderson’s mother again called police to have her son taken to a psychiatric emergency program because he was referring to himself as Allah and was acting aggressive and psychotic, Grant wrote. At one point, police found Anderson sitting on the edge of a bridge and police coaxed him down. He was then hospitalized briefly at George Washington University Hospital, Grant wrote.
Following a 40-minute examination, Grant wrote she was unable to determine whether Anderson was competent to participate in the court process and recommended he remain at the D.C. jail for further evaluation.
At the hearing, Anderson's public defender, Blase Kearney, requested that Anderson be sent to St. Elizabeths. Anderson is set to appear in court again next month.
Kearney and two of Anderson’s family members declined to comment after Tuesday’s hearing.