Drug Deal, Robbery Alleged in Shooting Death of Maryland Man Rhett Gelb

The shooting death of Maryland man Rhett Gelb in Northwest DC was a robbery attempt when Gelb attempted to purchase $500 worth of marijuana, a witness to the shooting has told police.

That’s according to arrest documents charging Roger St John, of Northeast DC, with Gelb’s death.

St John appeared in DC Superior Court Wednesday to be presented with the charge of first-degree felony murder. He was ordered held pending a preliminary hearing set for January 14.

According to two people who were in Gelb’s car with him the night he was killed, Gelb had arranged to meet a middleman named “Gary” to purchase $500 worth of marijuana.

When Gelb parked in the unit block of Hamilton Street Northwest, Gary got in to the car. Gelb gave him the money and, a few minutes later, another man got into the car. That person pointed a gun at Gelb and demanded money, charging documents state.

Gelb refused to give the man money, got out of the car and had just opened one of the read doors when he was shot.

Video from a closed circuit television camera captured the parts of the exchange described by witnesses which occurred outside the car, including the unknown man getting out of a Silver Lincoln Towncar parked near Gelb and walking to Gelb.

The Towncar was registered to St John’s wife and St John was later observed using it.

Detectives also believe that cell phone records connect Gelb, Gary and St John, including records of calls from just before Gelb was killed.

A copy of the charging documents is below.

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