A Maryland man has been arrested for the shooting at a Days Inn in Northwest D.C. that killed one woman and left four others injured on Jan. 27.
Eighteen-year-old Gerald Andre Thomas of Temple Hills, Maryland, was arrested and charged with second degree murder while armed, according to a D.C. police news release.
Thomas’s arrest came after multiple interviews with victims and witnesses following the shooting. According to charging documents, recent photographs on an Instagram account associated with Thomas, in conjunction with surveillance footage, led law enforcement to identify him as the suspect.
On Jan. 27 at about 3:30 a.m., officers responded to the 4400 block of Connecticut Avenue NW for reports of a shooting inside the Days Inn Hotel, police said.
Charging documents detailed how the evening started with a “lingerie party” that was part of a surprise birthday celebration in a hotel room on the fifth floor.
Detectives believe Gerald Thomas showed up to the party, because he believed his girlfriend was around other men and was cheating on him, charging documents say.
When Thomas attempted to get inside the hotel room, there was an argument at the door. That’s when Thomas began firing, and there was an exchange of gunfire inside of the hotel room, prosecutors say.
Police believe shots fired back at Thomas from within the hotel room were likely in self-defense, but have not identified who took part in that exchange. No charges have been made against anyone accused of returning fire.
Upon arrival, District police say they found three adult females suffering from gunshot wounds. D.C. Fire and EMS responded to the scene and transported the victims to area hospitals for treatment.
One of the victims, 20-year-old Dasha Cleary of Waldorf, died from her injuries. The two other female victims were treated for life threatening injuries.
Charging documents say that Thomas’ girlfriend was one of the women who was critically injured. She is expected to survive.
Cleary had been dancing in the back of the hotel room when she was shot in the head. Police say it appears that she was not involved in the dispute at the door.
In a text exchange between Thomas and his girlfriend’s mother, Thomas said, “I’m so sorry this is happening, they tried to kill me,” according to the charging documents.
Two additional victims, both adult males, received hospital treatment for nonlife threatening gunshot wounds.