James Johnson Held in the Shooting Death of Talbert Bright

Judge Karen Howze ordered James Johnson held Monday on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Talbert Bright.

Bright, 48, was shot multiple times in the upper body, and died at Washington Hospital Center at 3:05 a.m. Saturday, according to charging documents.

Charging documents allege that Johnson, 30, shot Bright while with friends in a park near 2nd Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW over a can of beer.

One witness told police that Johnson was in the park with roughly thirty people that night. When Bright rode up on his bike, he asked Johnson if he could buy a beer from his “thirty pack” of Natural Ice Beer. When Johnson didn’t respond, Bright reached into the thirty pack, which made Johnson mad, according to the witness.

Another witness told police that Johnson then began “yelling and cursing” at Bright, saying “F*ck you, f*ck your wife.” Then, according to that witness, Johnson pushed Bright to the ground.

That witness told police that Bright sat against a wall and began changing his shoes while Johnson began taunting Bright for a fight.

Then, according to the witness, Johnson reached into a black bag and began shooting at Bright. The witness told police that it didn’t physically see the gun, so Bright “must have shot the gun from inside the black bag,” charging documents say.

A third witness told police that Bright argued with Johnson over the beer before grabbing his backpack and placing it on his bike. The witness told police that Johnson then grabbed his own bag and began asking what Bright was getting out of his bag. Then, the witness told police that Johnson pulled out a dark colored handgun and fired three times at Bright.

The witness said that Bright started to run, but Johnson fired again, bringing Bright to the ground.

The second witness told police that Johnson and Bright fought a week before the shooting because Johnson’s girlfriend flirted with Bright. The two men saw each other regularly after the alleged fight, and exchanged words but had not fought again, the witness said.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on July 25.

Charging documents have been added to this post.

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