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DC Courts: Murder charge dropped after deadly Northeast shooting

22-year-old Malik Williams was originally charged with second-degree murder. Now, his only charge is carrying a pistol without a license.

WASHINGTON —  A 47-year-old man was shot to death following a car crash Monday morning, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. What was originally called a road rage incident by police is now being attributed to a dispute between the two drivers over possession of a car. 

Just after 9:30 a.m., police said a Jeep and Honda crashed near the 4400 block of Benning Road Northeast. Police said after the crash, the driver of the Honda -- identified as 22-year-old Malik Williams -- allegedly fired multiple shots into the jeep. The driver of the jeep, Jamalijnanya Butler, was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Butler’s family told WUSA9 that the Honda involved in the crash had been stolen from the front of Butler’s home either late Saturday evening or early Sunday. 

After taking his wife to her job as an assistant principal at Jefferson Academy, and dropping the couple’s 2-year-old daughter at daycare, Butler texted his mother to say he was going to search the neighborhood for the missing car, according to his family. He was driving his wife’s jeep. 

The text was sent at about 9:28 a.m., according to Butler’s mother. Butler was shot and killed just six minutes later, according to police. 

“This offense began as a dispute between the decedent and the suspect over the suspect’s possession of the decedent’s vehicle,”  according to an MPD statement. 

Police also said Williams had two young children in the Honda at the time of the incident. Following the shooting, police said Williams fled the scene on foot, leaving the children behind in the car.

On Monday, police arrested and charged Williams with second-degree murder while armed. However, DC Courts confirmed to WUSA9 on Sunday that the charge has been dropped. The investigation is still ongoing and DC Courts would not comment on why the decision was ultimately made. 

Currently, Williams is still charged with carrying a pistol without a license. He is being held without bond pending his next court appearance.

Butler's death marked the 198th homicide of the year; in all of 2020, there were 198 homicides reported in the District.

Butler had been working for D.C.’s Housing Authority as a maintenance technician on mechanical systems for at least 22 years, his family said. He was the father of three girls, and his neighbors said he was a well-known and beloved member of his community

“He is truly going to be missed," said Rev. Kenneth Mackey, a longtime neighbor of Butler’s. "He was a treasure to this neighborhood." 

The shooting remains under investigation. Anyone with additional information on this shooting or car crash is asked to call D.C. Police at 202-727-9099.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story referred to this incident as a road rage shooting, which is what preliminary MPD investigation showed. New information in the investigation led police to reclassify the incident.

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