Delron Atchison was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for his role in the 2011 fatal shooting of Demetrius Thompson, which took place aboard a crowded W4 Metrobus. Atchison’s accomplice, Vincent Gray, was sentenced to 21 years.
Atchison begged for leniency as he wept before Judge Thomas Motley in a crowded courtroom Friday.
“I cry over the situation, I pray for Thompson’s kids and family and I accept responsibility for my actions,” Atchison said. “I regret that it ever happened. I’m asking for a second chance.”
Atchison and Gray pled guilty to second-degree murder while armed this past October.
According to the government’s proffer of facts, Atchison and Gray fought with Thompson near the Congress Heights Metrorail Station on the evening of Oct. 19, 2011. After the fight, Atchison and Gray drove to the 2300 block of Hartford Street, S.E., to obtain a gun for retaliatory purposes. The men then walked to Alabama Avenue and boarded a W4 Metrobus, where Gray yelled for Thompson to get off the bus.
“Get off the bus; don’t make a scene,” Gray said.
As Atchison and Gray walked down the bus aisle, slowly approaching Thompson, Atchison drew a 9mm handgun and fired twice, striking Thompson with both shots.
The shooting took place approximately 45 minutes after the initial fight, according to documents.
The incident was caught on videotape, which Judge Motley viewed before reading the terms of each sentence.
“Everything you’ve done is on video,” Motley said. “You were not in danger and you were not hurt in the fight. You did not get on that bus by accident, and because you did, we’re here unnecessarily.”
Atchison’s sentence, 30 years in prison, is longer than Gray’s sentence of 21 years. Gray pled guilty to one count of second-degree murder; Atchison pled guilty to one count of second-degree murder and three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
A press release from the US Attorney’s Office is below. Sentencing documents have been added to this post.
Two District Men Sentenced to Decades in Prison For 2011 Slaying of Passenger on Metrobus-Security Video on the Bus Recorded the Shooting -
WASHINGTON – Delron Atchison, 24, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison and Vincent Gray, 22, was sentenced to a 21-year prison term on charges stemming from the slaying of a passenger last year on a Metrobus, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Atchison and Gray, both of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in October 2012 to charges of second-degree murder while armed. Atchison also pled guilty to three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, due to the fact that three other passengers were seated near the victim, Demetrius Thompson, at the time of the Oct. 20, 2011 shooting.
The defendants were sentenced in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Honorable Thomas J. Motley.
According to the court papers and the defendants’ own statements during the plea hearing, Atchison and Gray had a fight with Mr. Thompson, 22, on the night of Oct. 19, 2011, in the area of the Congress Heights Metro station. Afterward, the defendants armed themselves.
About 45 minutes later, just after midnight, they saw a bus approaching in the 2100 block of Alabama Avenue SE and thought that Mr. Thompson might be on it. When the bus stopped, Gray got on board and pointed out Mr. Thompson to Atchison. Atchison then boarded the crowded bus, drew a 9-millimeter handgun, and walked directly toward Mr. Thompson, who rose from his seat. Atchison fired at Mr. Thompson two times, striking him with both shots. As the shots were fired, the numerous other passengers and the bus driver fled from the bus. Mr. Thompson crawled off the bus, and collapsed in front of it. He died shortly afterward.
Atchison and Gray, meanwhile, fled from the bus.
Security video on the Metrobus recorded the entire incident. Atchison and Gray were arrested at a hotel in the Orlando, Fla. area five days after the shooting and have been in custody since that time.
“These killers executed a defenseless passenger on a Metrobus in front of a terrified driver and other passengers,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We owe a deep debt of gratitude to those who tracked these fleeing murderers to Florida and brought them back to D.C. to face justice. Today’s lengthy prison sentences are a reflection of our community’s outrage at this monstrous display of violence.”
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the efforts of the Metropolitan Police Department, the Metro Transit Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office. He also acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Liebman and Scott Sroka, who prosecuted the case.