Irving Johnson Ordered Held in Deadly Columbia Heights Triple Shooting

Irving Johnson was ordered held today on substantial probability in connection with a triple shooting in Columbia Heights that left two men dead this summer.

In court for his preliminary hearing, Johnson was ordered held while awaiting trial, even though his attorney had argued that there wasn’t enough evidence on the record to move the case forward.

MPD Detective Anthony Brigidini testified at the hearing that Domonique Barber, Jimmie Lee Simmons III and friends of theirs blamed Johnson for a robbery that had taken place in their neighborhood several years before and they were concerned that he was out of jail.

Barber and Simmons, said Brigidini, weren’t “looking for trouble.”

They had grown up and were trying to work and were not in the game anymore,” he said, clarifying that by “game” he meant being out on the street.

Charging documents state that Barber and Simmons were out on the street in the early morning hours of July 9. Early reports indicated that the group of men was gambling when a man walked up and fired a gun. Simmons was shot once— in his right cheek. Barber was shot three times– twice in the head and once in the leg.

A third person who was shot survived. At the preliminary hearing Brigidini said one person stated that that person returned gunfire, but that a weapon found on him in the emergency room had no evidence of being fired.

Johnson was identified by a witness while in custody of MPD. That witness viewed a photo array including Johnson’s photo. Brigidini said that while that witness said it was either Johnson or someone else, he said that the witness appeared to fixate on Johnson’s photo.

Brigidini said the witness’s eyes “bugged out” or got big, he stared at the photo of Johnson and began exhibiting “ticks and stressors.”

Johnson was arrested in Maryland in September, about an hour and a half outside of D.C. Brigidini said he kicked out a window and attempted to flee before surrendering to authorities.

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