Victim Testifies About Shooting in Milk Crate Melee

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On April 1, a non-fatal shooting victim testified before DC Superior Court Judge Andrea Hertzfeld.

Diandre Caesar, 29, is charged with three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, second-degree cruelty to children, and two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, among other charges, for his alleged involvement in a shooting that occurred on June 28, 2022, on the 2200 block of New York Avenue, NE. No injuries were reported.

The prosecution called one of the victims to the stand who testified that he, his girlfriend, and their infant son had been in the parking lot of a McDonald’s so he could buy marijuana. 

After the deal, he attempted to leave through the drive-through but was blocked by a milk crate. He testified that he got out of his vehicle and threw the milk crate over a nearby fence. 

Prosecutors played security camera footage that showed a man identified as Caesar throwing the milk crate over the fence and into the drive-through lane earlier as he mowed grass. 

After the victim threw the milk crate back again, the footage also showed Caesar running through the parking lot to throw the milk crate back over the fence, where it struck the victim’s car. The victim testified he got out of his car to confront Caesar.

“He was attempting to create some sort of confrontation over a milk crate,” said the victim. “I am one who loves my cars. … I was very upset and mad.”

According to the victim, a verbal altercation occurred as the two argued and exchanged insults through the fence. The victim’s girlfriend stayed in the passenger seat, but audio from the dash cam captured her insulting Caesar as well.

“I wasn’t squaring up or making hostile threats,” said the victim, and testified that Caesar also wasn’t “squaring up” and appeared to be unarmed at the time. 

However, when the victim realized the verbal altercation could escalate into a physical fight, he returned to his car out of fear for his son’s safety. Right before he drove away, he threw the milk crate back over the fence.

“I think that triggered him,” said the victim. “I threw that milk crate back over the fence just to annoy him.”

According to the victim, he and his family tried to drive away, but were pursued by Caesar who allegedly punched and kicked their vehicle while they were stopped at the exit. The victim noticed Caesar had retrieved a bag “from his friend,” and now feared he was armed.

The victim attempted to pull out into the street, but was blocked by other traffic. Caesar allegedly continued to strike the car, moving over to the rear driver’s window, where the victim’s son was in his carseat.

The victim claimed he then reversed, intentionally aiming his car at Caesar to capture his face on his dash cam before driving away. As they fled, four shots struck the rear of their vehicle. The victim quickly pulled over to ensure his son’s safety.

“It was my son in the vehicle that was my concern,” said the victim. “I wasn’t even worried about me.”

On cross examination, one of Caesar’s defense attorneys, Adrian Madsen, pointed out that the victim had previous convictions related to his former girlfriend, the other victim of the shooting, that were unrelated to this case.

He also referenced the victim’s grand jury testimony, in which the victim testified that he “hoped and prayed” Caesar would hit him during their verbal altercation so he could “teach him a lesson.”

The victim reluctantly agreed with these statements, but clarified the reason he confronted Caesar was because he “wanted, honestly, to see his true character.”

Further, the victim previously testified to the grand jury that his girlfriend had been holding a knife during the verbal altercation, but now claimed he didn’t remember it happening that way, stating his girlfriend only retrieved the knife when Caesar allegedly approached the vehicle.

The victim also denied ever attempting to run Caesar over with his car, but stated he would have if he found it necessary to “get out of the situation.”

He also testified he never saw Caesar with a firearm in his hand.

The prosecution called their next witness, one of Caesar’s coworkers, who arrived on the scene as the altercation was occurring.

The witness stated he did “not want to be here today,” and testified to hearing people arguing when he came to pick Caesar up from work on the day of the incident.

The witness’s testimony is set to continue on April 2 due to time constraints.

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