Md. funeral company owner charged in fatally shooting pallbearer makes first court appearance

A Maryland funeral home owner charged in the shooting and killing a pallbearer at a 10-year-old girl’s funeral service made his first court appearance Friday.

The judge ordered 48-year-old Wilson Chavis, of Hughesville, to be held without bond until his next court appearance in July.

He’s been charged with first- and second-degree murder in the shooting death of 30-year-old Ronald Banks, of D.C., who served as a pallbearer at Washington National Cemetery in Suitland on Tuesday.

Police said it happened around 1:20 p.m. just as the funeral service for 10-year-old Ariana Davis was about to begin. Davis was hit by a stray bullet while riding home in the back seat of a car in Northeast D.C. on Mother’s Day and died a few days later.

Chavis got into a confrontation with two people who worked for another funeral service company over a “long-standing business dispute” he’d apparently had, according to police.

Chavis tripped over the concrete vault lid near the gravesite and fell to the ground, police said. He pulled out his gun and shot Banks and a woman before fleeing the scene in a vehicle before being detained.

Banks and the woman were taken to a hospital. Police said that he died, and the woman was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Prince George’s County Police Maj. David Blazer said at a news conference that the shooting was unrelated to the funeral of Ariana Davis.

WTOP’s Tadiwos Abedje contributed to the story.

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Juan Herrera

Juan Herrera is an associate producer for WTOP News. He joined the radio news team in 2021 after previously working for WMAL News as a news assistant. He is a graduate of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

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