Witness Says Michael Davis Tried to Acquire Gun in Days Before Petworth Hammer Attacks

The DC teen suspected in five hammer assaults in Petworth, including one that killed 66-year-old Denver nurse Gary Dederichs, had been intent on obtaining a gun in the week leading up to the assaults but appears not to have been able to acquire one.

That’s according to charging documents presented to the nineteen year old, Michael Davis, today at DC Superior Court. He’s suspected of one count of first-degree premeditated murder as well as two counts of assault with intent to kill.

Davis appeared today at DC Superior Court in connection with the murder case. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning in the murder case; separate preliminary hearings are scheduled for the assault cases.

The charging documents rely, in part, on the account of one witness who said that in the days before Dederichs was killed Davis had asked on at least five different occasions how he could acquire a gun.

The witness told police that they told Davis of someone who had guns and promised to tell Davis when that person came by the neighborhood.

The witness also told police that Davis had a history of PCP use as well as mental illness. The Washington Post reported Saturday that Davis “suffered from ‘auditory and visual hallucinations.’ Schizophrenia and ‘borderline intellectual functioning’ were diagnosed preliminarily.” A mental health observation has been ordered in connection with the assaults, and a mental health hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

According to court records, Davis has been charged, but not indicted, in three assaults. Two additional assaults have been linked to him, but no charges have been filed in those cases at this time.

Dederichs was found in an alley alongside 813 Emerson Street in Northwest DC just after 6 p.m. on April 24. He was unconscious and unresponsive; a “large quantity” of blood was pooled near his head. Dederichs did not appear to have been robbed; a wallet with money was found on him. An autopsy found that Dederichs died of blunt force trauma to the head. A medical examiner said the injury could have come from a “claw style weapon, possibly a hammer.”

Early the following morning, at about 2:40 a.m., a 53-year-old male was found near 4812 Georgia Avenue Northwest with traumatic head injuries. He was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery for multiple facial fractures and a large fracture to the back of his head. Medical authorities said the injuries could have been caused by a hammer or baseball bat.

That night, a 19-year-old woman was attacked in the 5600 block of 9th Street Northwest. She appears to have also been struck on the back of the head, fracturing her skull and causing bleeding in her brain.

The next day, at 3:30 pm, a man was attacked in the 200 block of Ingraham Street Northwest. The man was knocked from behind to the ground, and his injuries include cuts to his head and face. A rubberized hammer handle was found near the scene of the crime.

Later that day, just before 9 p.m., a woman was attacked in the 5000 block of 8th Street Northwest. The attack fractured her skull and fractured her skull. A man detained shortly after the attack had a claw-tooth hammer in his backpack. Hair was present on the clawed end, court documents state.

Charging documents in the case are below.

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