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West Potomac HS student charged with murder for fatal shooting outside D.C. bar

A West Potomac High School student has been charged with murder for a fatal shooting outside Nellie’s Sports Bar in D.C. (via Google Maps)

A West Potomac High School student has been charged with murder in connection to a fatal shooting in October outside a D.C. bar.

Ashton Inabinet, a 16-year-old Hybla Valley resident, was arrested yesterday (Wednesday) and charged with second-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting and killing 24-year-old D.C. resident Diamonte Lewis on Oct. 21, D.C. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves announced.

Lewis was celebrating his birthday when the shooting broke out around 3:38 a.m., possibly following a fight, outside Nellie’s Sports Bar at the corner of 9th and U Streets NW, according to news and police reports.

Officers with the Metropolitan Police Department responded to the scene and found Lewis suffering from gunshot wounds, unconscious and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at 3:50 a.m., leaving behind two children.

According to a police affidavit, Inabinet was identified as one of two people who fired shots that morning through surveillance video footage and an anonymous tip provided on Nov. 14. Both suspects were traced to Virginia schools, and West Potomac’s school resource officer confirmed Inabinet’s identity to detectives based on a “distinctive headband” seen in the surveillance video.

However, the MPD alleges in court documents that, without coordinating with detectives, Fairfax County police and Fairfax County Public Schools officials “essentially tipped off” Inabinet that he was under investigation, giving him time to confiscate evidence.

On Tuesday, November 28, 2023, West Potomac High School ordered Fairfax County Police to go to the defendant’s residence and notify them that the defendant was not allowed to return to school in reference to a D.C. investigation. This information provided the defendant approximately a week to remove evidence from the residence, such as clothing, 9mm semi-automatic pistol and/or 9mm ammunition of the same brand used during the homicide.

In statements first reported by WUSA9, the Fairfax County Police Department and FCPS said Inabinet was banned from school as a safety measure after MPD homicide detectives informed the West Potomac school resource officer on Nov. 28 that they intended to pursue charges against a student.

From the FCPD:

MPD homicide detectives appeared at a Fairfax County high school on Tuesday, November 28, interacted with a School Resource Officer and stated their intention to eventually pursue criminal charges against a Fairfax County high school student for a recent firearm murder in their jurisdiction. MPD detectives had not yet obtained criminal charges. We delivered a letter authored by Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid banning the student, a murder suspect, from school until we received further information. This is a preventive action we own and stand by. The Fairfax County Police Department has a duty and responsibility to protect our students.

Reid says FCPS supports the FCPD’s actions.

“The safety of our schools remains our top priority and we will always act swiftly to protect our students and staff,” Reid said. “We continue to work collaboratively with Fairfax County Police, who are partners in this work, and we are in agreement with their statement.”

Inabinet pleaded not guilty at an arraignment yesterday in D.C. Superior Court. He’s currently in custody at the D.C. Central Detention Facility without bond after a judge “found probable cause that the defendant committed the murder,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of D.C.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for next Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Image via Google Maps. Hat tip to Romeo (@RVANOVA01).

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