Crystal City shooting suspect’s case transferred to domestic court

The man charged with shooting a woman he knew in her Crystal City, Virginia, office in August has had his case transferred to domestic relations court.

Mumeet Muhammad, 47, of D.C., appeared in Arlington County District Court on Thursday morning for a motions hearing. In addition to his jail jumpsuit and sneakers, he had his left arm in a sling and his head in a bandage.

On Aug. 28, Muhammad allegedly forced his way into the office in the 1500 block of Crystal Drive, and assaulted and shot the woman before he was shot by police.

Prosecutors asked for, and were granted, a transfer for two felony counts: use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and being a violent felon in possession of a weapon.

Muhammad stood, and spoke quietly, with defense attorney Mark Thrash.

Police block off crystal city shooting site
Police and paramedics respond to the shooting scene in Crystal City, Virginia, on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

Those two counts were transferred to Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, where Muhammad is charged with the most serious count: aggravated malicious wounding, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Though prosecutors didn’t elaborate on their request in court, it will allow them to try to prove probable cause in a single hearing rather than before two different judges.

Initially, the transfer could afford more privacy to the woman, since juvenile and domestic court records are often shielded.

If the judge finds probable cause in the Dec. 16 hearing, the case would be forwarded to Circuit Court, which is generally more accessible to the public and media, or presented to a grand jury.

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos didn’t immediately respond to emailed and voice messages, asking if she planned to ask the grand jury to indict Muhammad on additional charges.

Previously, in 1992, Muhammad, who was then known as Tonie Macklin, was convicted of murdering a man in Arlington, Virginia, and sentenced to 37 years in prison. He was released on mandatory parole in 2017, according to the Virginia Parole Board.

This year, in July, Muhammad was charged in D.C. with two misdemeanors; he was accused of punching and threatening a man.

Weeks later, on Aug. 9, court records show a woman was granted a temporary restraining order, saying she feared for her life because of threats by Muhammad.

On Aug. 20, U.S. Park Police arrested Muhammad near Fort Dupont Park in Southeast D.C., after responding to reports of shots fired. The gun was recovered by a police search dog.

D.C. prosecutors dropped the federal gun possession count and have not explained why they chose not to prosecute Muhammad, a convicted felon who allegedly had a gun and who was the subject of an ongoing restraining order.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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