WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Rage over a parking space and some traffic cones has left a D.C. man dead and a construction worker facing a possible homicide charge.
From what witnesses are telling the cops, the construction worker punched the victim once in the head and knocked him out. Maybe he hit his head when he hit the ground. He died at the hospital the next day.
Crews working in the 200 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE are installing conduit and they've put up cones to guide traffic.
Witnesses say Desmond Joseph started "throwing the road cones out of the way" last Thursday, trying to get into a parking spot.
Police say construction worker Paul Hagans objected and "words were exchanged."
Hagans told investigators Joseph was "holding a cone"... and "flinched toward him." He allegedly admitted to "punching him."
Hagans said Joseph "fell backwards toward the street and could see his eyes rolling back as he fell." But two witnesses told the police that Joseph "had no object in his hands." A third witness said he "may have had a cell phone" and may have "been trying to call 911."
Leon Burnett is running traffic for another construction company up the street. He says he sometimes argues with drivers. But he's never heard of anything like this.
"Life is beautiful. Die for what? Over cones?," he said.
Desmond Joseph's neighbors just a few blocks away say they cannot believe he died over a parking spot.
"I think that's very sad. Very sad. Heartbreaking," said Brittany Crutchfield. "Desmond was a very good guy."
Paul Hagans turned himself in to police. They've already charged him with aggravated assault. And now that Desmond Joseph's has died, police say this case is a homicide.
A couple of Metro Transit Police officers discovered Joseph lying in the middle of Rhode Island Avenue and called out for help. But by the time they found him, it was too late to save his life.
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