Metro Bus Footage Captures Fatal Stabbing During Tussle 

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Prosecutors presented Metro bus video surveillance footage allegedly showing a suspect chasing, then fatally confronting a murder victim.  The testimony came in a May 15 hearing before DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan who found probable cause in the case.

Christian Wilkerson, 21, is charged with second-degree murder while armed in connection with the Nov. 11, 2022, stabbing death of twenty-year-old Rashawn Phifer on the 500 block of Riggs Road, NE.  

Under questioning from the prosecutor, the lead detective on the case from the Metropolitan Police (MPD) detailed the chronology of the assault, highlighting video surveillance footage from different angles of a moving Metro bus near the Riggs LaSalle recreation center in Northeast Washington, DC. 

The video, played in court, shows an altercation among a group of three people on the sidewalk.  Then the victim runs across Nicholson Street, NE with a suspect, identified as Wilkerson, wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt in pursuit.  When the suspect catches up with Phifer, he pins him to a fence; the victim breaks away, then collapses though the stabbing is not seen on camera.

According to court documents, one of the witnesses told Wilkerson, “Bruh, you just stabbed my man!”

The detective said two witnesses identified Wilkerson as the perpetrator.  

A police report claims Wilkerson later boasted about the killing online.  

The lead detective said along with eyewitness accounts, they were able to trace Wilkerson through his cell phone number with records subpoenaed from T-Mobile.

During cross examination, defense attorney Joseph Caleb pointed out that the suspect was wearing a Sheisty mask covering the face except for the eyes, but the mask dropped off during the melee. 

“I can’t recall the first time [the witnesses] saw the suspect’s face,” said the detective. Nor could the detective identify the origin of the altercation though, he said, it may have stemmed from an earlier attempt to buy shoes from Wilkerson. 

“Did Wilkerson have a beef with the defendant?” asked Caleb.  The detective said he was not aware of any conflict between the two. 

However, Caleb pointed out that Phifer stole Wilkerson’s phone during the incident.  The detective acknowledged that the video shows an object on the ground thought to be a cellphone.  Further, he said there was an Instagram post indicating an attempt to steal the defendant’s phone. 

In her finding of probable cause, Judge Raffinan released Wilkerson to home confinement and GPS monitoring.

A felony status conference was scheduled for July 2.


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