Defendant in shooting case waives right to preliminary hearing, is released

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An 18-year-old defendant in a shooting trial waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was released by D.C. Superior Court Judge Renee Raymond on June 17.

Owen Mendez, 18, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for his alleged involvement in a shooting that occurred in a parking garage in the 1600 block of L Street, NW, on Dec. 17, 2023. No one was injured in the incident.

According to court documents, officers responded to a call from the shop in which a person reported a gunshot hitting their vehicle. A shop attendant reported hearing a gunshot inside the shop, and officers requested video footage from the time of the incident.

According to court documents, the footage showed two men – the plaintiff and a person named Mendez – arguing before a fight broke out.

The complainant apparently tackled Mendez to the ground and kicked him in the face. Mendez allegedly returned moments later with a gun, aimed at the complainant and fired, but missed and struck the caller's car.

During the hearing, Mendez waived his right to a preliminary hearing and requested his release from the Washington DC prison

Defense attorney Kibria Nabeel argued that Mendez had no previous convictions and acted out of fear of being “attacked” by a larger group.

Nabeel also stated that Mendez is the sole breadwinner for his family and children. Mendez's entire family – including parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins ​​- was present in court to show their support.

Prosecutors argued against release, arguing that the nature of the charges indicated that Mendez was exhibiting impulsive behavior that would pose a danger to the community if released.

Judge Raymond granted conditional release under electronic monitoring.

The parties are scheduled to resume on August 1st.

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