A federal prosecutor was assaulted outside D.C. Superior Court on Thursday, just minutes after a jury returned guilty verdicts in a murder case on which the prosecutor had worked, according to police.
D.C. police officers, U.S. marshals and court security officers ran outside after the prosecutor, Kendra Briggs, was attacked by a man who is a relative of a defendant convicted in the murder case, two D.C. homicide detectives said late Thursday.
According to the detectives, Briggs and the daughter of the murder victim had just left the courthouse after the verdicts. A relative of the defendant, Tiera Hight, 20, and the victim’s daughter became involved in an altercation.
A police report said Hight’s brother, Maurice, 27, attacked Briggs, grabbed her hair and punched her in the face, “taking her to the ground.”
Maurice Hight was immediately arrested and charged with assaulting two federal agents and resisting arrest, according to the report.
Tiera Hight, who authorities say spat on a U.S. marshal as he tried to break up the altercation, was charged with misdemeanor assault and faces a maximum of 180 days in jail.
Briggs declined to be taken to a hospital, though she later sought treatment for bruises on the right side of her face and her arm. She also declined to speak to the media about the incident, according to Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.
Briggs has been involved in serious and high-profile cases, and she served as one of the lead prosecutors in the 2014 D.C. misdemeanor assault trial of R&B singer Chris Brown and his bodyguard, who were charged with striking a fan outside the W Hotel in downtown Washington.
In the murder trial that wrapped up Thursday, Briggs was among the prosecutors who investigated the case against two District men charged in the 2014 fatal shooting of 38-year-old Carlos Shelton of Alexandria during what prosecutors said was a robbery turned deadly.
Following a two-week trial, Tyrone Michael Hight, 26, and James Young, 25, were found guilty of first-degree murder while armed and other charges.
Prosecutors alleged Shelton met Hight and Young on Pomeroy Road in Southeast Washington to purchase drugs, but the men instead pistol-whipped Shelton and then shot him.
When the jury foreman announced the guilty verdicts in Judge Milton C. Lee’s courtroom, Hight and some supporters began shouting, according to two people inside the courtroom.
The chaos among Hight’s supporters spilled into the hallway outside the courtroom and eventually outside the courthouse. Maurice and Tiera Hight are Tyrone Hight’s siblings.
During a hearing under heightened security in U.S. District Court on Friday, a federal judge ordered Maurice and Tiera Hight to remain in jail until a hearing Wednesday.
“This was a brazen, bold and premeditated attack,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Scarpelli. “We have to send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”
The attack underscores the security threat some prosecutors face in handling certain cases. It is not uncommon for prosecutors to regularly be escorted by detectives or federal marshals to and from the courthouse, especially when the prosecutor has received threats or are overseeing a high-profile, emotional case.