A District man Friday was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the non-fatal shootings of two off-duty D.C. police officers during separate altercations on Suitland Parkway in 2014.
A D.C. Superior Court judge sentenced Romeo T. Hayes, 29, to a decade in prison and his brother, Ronald J. Hayes Jr., to 16 months in jail in connection with the shootings.
According to prosecutors, during the early morning hours of Aug. 13, 2014, Romeo Hayes left the Opera Ultra Lounge in the 1400 block of I Street NW with a friend. The two men drove to the club in a red Nissan Altima that was stolen from a car rental agency at Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
One of the off-duty officers involved in the shooting was also at the nightclub. Authorities said there was no evidence that the officer — a female — and Hayes had any interaction at the nightclub.
On the way home from the club, Hayes, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the Altima as a friend was behind the wheel, pulled out a 9mm semiautomatic Glock 17 pistol with an extended magazine and began shooting from his vehicle at a nearby vehicle driven by the female officer, as both cars were approaching the Alabama Avenue exit. One of the bullets struck the officer’s vehicle.
As the officer tried to chase the Altima, the cars approached a red light where, authorities say, an off-duty D.C. police detective happened to be sitting in his SUV while on his way to work. Prosecutors said Hayes fired multiple shots at the detective, striking him in his left forearm. The detective then rammed his SUV into the Altima, at which point Hayes fired three more shots at the detective, striking him in his chest and shoulder. The Altima then sped off.
When Hayes and his friend returned to a residence in Glenarden, Md., prosecutors say, he gave the gun he used in the shooting to his brother Ronald, who then hid the weapon.
Romeo Hayes then returned to the stolen vehicle and drove off. Police who had been alerted to the earlier shooting spotted Romeo Hayes in the vehicle and began a high-speed pursuit which ended about 4 a.m. in the 5500 block of Hunt Place NE, where Romeo Hayes was arrested.
In November, Romeo Hayes, 28, entered what is known as an Alford plea, in which he acknowledged that the government had enough evidence to secure a conviction, but denied the allegations. As part of the deal, Romeo Hayes pleaded to eight felony counts, including assault with intent to kill and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. Romeo Hayes’s 20-year-old brother, Ronald, pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with evidence in the case. Ronald Hayes is currently serving a 12-year sentence on two counts of vehicular manslaughter in a separate case in Prince George’s County.