PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — A funeral home owner accused of killing a man and injuring a woman during a funeral service in Suitland will remain behind bars.
The incident happened as family members were laying 10-year-old Arianna Davis to rest, who was killed by a stray bullet in D.C. on Mother’s Day.
Wilson Chavis, 48, the owner of Compassion and Serenity Funeral Home, is accused of shooting and killing 30-year-old Ronald Stevens Banks.
Court documents reveal a dispute between Chavis and a second funeral home company that was in attendance called Freeman Funeral Services. Family members of the 10-year-old girl tried to deescalate the situation.
Chavis tripped and fell and when he got up, he fired two shots, one of them killing Banks who was pallbearer at the funeral. The other bullet grazed a 39-year-old woman, which prosecutor’s say was in the back of the crowd.
Chavis’ family members and his lawyer pleaded in court on Friday, June 9, that the judge release him on bond or home detention because this incident wasn’t an example of his character. They said Chavis’ actions were because he felt threatened.
Extended family members spoke on the positive impact Chavis made in the community and that he is not a danger to the public.
There is “no amount of bond that would protect the community” from Chavis, prosecutors said. They claim he intentionally threatened employees of Freeman Funeral Services and fired his gun not once but twice. They also claim Chavis pulled out a gun on another victim during an unrelated incident prior to the shooting at the funeral.
“This 10-year-old girl was being buried that day. Everyone knew that, yet it wasn’t important enough, yet that wasn’t sacred enough not to carry out unnecessary beef,” Aisha Braveboy said during a press conference after court.
Issac Lambert, the father of Banks, the victim killed during the incident, also spoke and asked for no bond. He shared with the judge that Banks was a father and a hardworking man. He says he was baffled that anyone would senselessly kill someone at a funeral service for someone who was also killed by senseless gun violence.
“I just don’t understand that,” Lambert said. “Why does everything have to result to pulling out guns? It just kind of like just baffles me that someone would shoot him.”
The judge ruled that Chavis will be held without bond, saying she was not persuaded by the defense.
“If they were scared why were they at my funeral?” Chavis who appeared virtually, said.
He is charged with first and second degree murder and attempted murder.