A local man who had been staying at a city homeless shelter was robbed by three men and fatally shot around 2:45 am Wednesday, June 4, on Fenwick Street in Northeast DC. A security camera recorded the three men accosting 33-year-old Rashard Raigns. They robbed him of his laptop computer and then shot him.
On Tuesday, June 10, police arrested 22-year-old William Smallwood, charging him with felony murder while armed. One day later, members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested a juvenile under an arrest warrant for felony murder while armed.
District police said they have interviewed a third individual who they say resembles another of the men who robbed Raigns. While individual initially denied any connection to the incident, police said he later told them that he had been involved with the robbery. They say the man told them that he had a BB gun and Smallwood had a silver revolver. During the robbery, the man said he told Raigns not to move before the victim tried to escape with his laptop. Then, Smallwood fired his gun twice, according to police. Police said they are regarding the individual as a witness to the crime.
Friends and relatives remembered Rashard Raigns as a remarkable and talented human being. He attended Colgate University, where he played defensive end in football. He spent time studying in China and spoke fluent Mandarin, they said..
A friend of Raigns created a page on GoFundMe, a popular fund-raising website. The goal is to raise $10,000 for a Rashard Raigns memorial. In just five days, friends, family, and college classmates donated $8,703 to the cause. Friends and family, in addition to making monetary donations, also left condolences to his family and recalled the great person and friend Raigns was to them.
Rashard Raigns’ sister said he had a home with his mother in Silver Spring and said that his life took a turn after he received his master’s degree in language arts, though she declined to give more details.
At the time of the murder, Raigns had spent several days at a local homeless shelter. His sister said that Raigns always tried to help the homeless, which may explain why he was at the shelter.
A preliminary hearing for the case is scheduled for June 26 before DC Superior Court Judge Jennifer Anderson.