Md. man sentenced to 23 years in prison for fatal 2022 shooting on steps of Dupont Circle church

A Montgomery County, Maryland, man was sentenced to 23 years in prison for a 2022 Memorial Day shooting death that took place on the steps of a D.C. church.

In a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C., prosecutors said James Jackson, 30, of Silver Spring pleaded guilty in February to one count of second-degree murder while armed.

D.C. police were called to the 1700 block of Rhode Island Avenue NW in the Dupont Circle neighborhood at around 4:30 p.m. on May 30, 2022, for reports of gunshots, prosecutors said. When officers arrived, they found Christian Monje, 29, of Fairfax, Virginia, on the steps of St. Matthew’s Cathedral suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

Monje died of his injuries a few weeks later, prosecutors said.

Surveillance footage from nearby cameras captured an individual approaching Monje, who was sitting on the steps of the church, according to prosecutors. The footage also showed the individual fleeing down a nearby alley and ducking behind a dumpster.

In their search of the dumpster area, detectives found a 9mm Polymer80 “ghost gun” — an illegal firearm with no serial number that therefore cannot be traced — which was later determined to be the murder weapon, prosecutors said.

Even with both the surveillance footage and murder weapon recovered, the case remained unsolved without a suspect for months, prosecutors said.

Then, detectives received a hit from a DNA profile taken from the murder weapon. The DNA on the gun was a match with a profile submitted by the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division, connected with a prior arrest of Jackson.

Using DNA and cell site evidence, prosecutors said detectives were able to confirm Jackson’s identity and make an arrest.

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Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

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