Burnis Cole Held in Death of Raasheem Rich

Burnis Cole, the man accused in D.C.’s first homicide of 2013, appeared in court Friday afternoon to be presented with a charge of first-degree murder.

The judge in the case, Karen Howze, ruled that there was enough evidence at this stage to hold Cole in connection with the fatal stabbing of Raasheem Jamal Rich on January 10.

According to charging documents, detectives used video surveillance of the night Rich was killed to build their case. Those recordings show Cole and Rich fighting at a liquor store on Alabama Avenue in Southeast D.C.

One video shows Cole and three other men exiting a gray Ford van parked outside the liquor store.

Cole and two of the men entered the liquor store, documents say. Rich followed minutes later.

Inside the store, Cole and Rich engaged in a verbal altercation and then Cole punched Rich, the charging documents describe. Employees escorted Cole, the two men he arrived with, and Rich out of the store. Cole and the two men exited before Rich, but according to the documents, Cole produced something resembling a knife from his pants pocket while leaving.

The video shows Cole waiting for Rich outside the store, the documents say. Cole then moved alongside Rich as he passed the front window of the store. Just before leaving the view of the camera, Cole is seen moving closer to Rich with his right arm extended.

Moments later, Rich runs into an adjacent parking lot, rips his shirt off, and then collapses to the sidewalk in front of the liquor store parking lot, according to documents in the case.

MPD released parts of the surveillance video soon after Rich’s death and asked for the public’s help in identifying the men seen in the video. According to charging documents, about three days after the video’s release, a witness contacted police and identified Cole as a person shown in the video.

Charging documents have been added to this post.

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