Alexandria 16-year-old charged in fatal shooting of DC man

D.C. police cruisers are seen in this WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)D.C. police cruisers are seen in this WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

A 16-year-old from Northern Virginia, Ashton Inabinet, has been arrested and charged as an adult in connection with the shooting death of D.C. resident Diamonte Lewis in October. Inabinet, a resident of Alexandria, Virginia, was apprehended by Fairfax County police based on an arrest warrant from the D.C. Superior Court.

Charges against Inabinet include second-degree murder while armed, as indicated in court documents. Lewis, 24, was found unresponsive and suffering from gunshot wounds outside Nellie’s Sports Bar at 9th and U streets in D.C. on October 21. An autopsy revealed he had been shot six times.

According to court documents, Inabinet has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is being held without bond, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 13.

Arrest Details and Alteration of Appearance

Inabinet was arrested by a Fairfax County SWAT team at his parents’ residence in Alexandria. The arrest was made based on a search warrant authorized by a Fairfax County judge. Upon arrest, Inabinet was found in the basement bathroom, having altered his physical appearance by cutting his hair into a short crew cut style. In surveillance footage from the shooting, Inabinet was observed with long red/blonde hair.

During the arrest, police discovered five 9-mm semi-automatic pistols, matching the gun used in Lewis’s killing, in a safe at Inabinet’s residence. Additionally, 10 more firearms were found, all believed to be in the parents’ bedroom.

School’s Role and Early Warning

Court documents suggest that Inabinet was “essentially tipped off” by school officials and Fairfax County police prior to his arrest. West Potomac High School, where Inabinet is a student, reportedly ordered Fairfax County police to inform him on November 28 that he was not allowed to return to school due to an ongoing D.C. investigation.

D.C. police detectives had not yet obtained criminal charges at that point, and the early warning provided Inabinet approximately a week to potentially remove evidence related to the investigation. The documents highlight concerns that the school’s actions might have allowed Inabinet to tamper with evidence before his arrest.

Fairfax County police justified their actions, stating that they delivered a letter from Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid, banning Inabinet from school pending further information. The police department emphasized its duty to protect students and collaborated with D.C. police detectives in a preventive action.

Legal Proceedings and Ongoing Investigation

Inabinet’s case adds another layer to the complex legal proceedings surrounding the shooting. The arrest has raised questions about the role of schools in criminal investigations and the potential impact on evidence preservation. The ongoing investigation will likely delve deeper into the circumstances leading up to Lewis’s death and Inabinet’s involvement.