A shooting that left two men dead early on Monday morning in D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood may have been tied to a cannabis delivery gone wrong.
According to a report by NBC4, D.C. police said the tragic incident occurred when a couple from out of town ordered weed delivered to an AirBnB unit they were allegedly renting at The DeSoto, a luxury apartment building on the 1400 block of P Street.
When the courier arrived shortly after midnight, he pulled out a handgun and tried to rob his customers. The heist quickly turned sour when the man from the couple pulled out a gun of his own, and the two men started exchanging fire at close range.
Within less than a half hour of the shooting, EMS pronounced both men dead at the scene. The Metropolitan Police Department later identified them as Nycholas Heyster, a 27-year old from Houston, and Johnny Coles, a 25 year-old from D.C.’s Northwest.
MPD said three women were in the apartment at the time of the shooting. The group had stopped in D.C. for the night on their way to New York for the holidays. Police later towed a black Mercedes that was parked by the Whole Foods grocery store directly across the street from The DeSoto.
The shooting occurred on a busy and affluent stretch of Logan Circle right off the 14th Street Corridor, a popular area for shopping, dining and nightlife.
MPD on Tuesday told The Outlaw Report the shooting is still under investigation, declining to provide further details on the case, like how much cannabis was recovered or how the couple went about ordering it. Only licensed medical dispensaries are allowed to deliver cannabis in the District, though many gray market or weed “gifting” businesses offer doorstep delivery as well.
Some public officials say D.C.’s weed “gifting” economy has contributed to a recent surge in gun violence across the District. In July, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee went on an angry tirade against unlicensed cannabis shops after a shooting in Logan Circle, just a few blocks north of The DeSoto. Contee told reporters at a press conference that unlicensed weed businesses have become a frequent target for armed robberies and that cannabis-related crimes go unprosecuted in D.C. courts, though he offered no evidence to back those claims up. Advocates and experts on crime have pushed back on the idea that weed is playing a significant role in the District’s spike in gun violence.
Contee’s comments were recently echoed by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who in November made a failed legislative push to impose a crackdown on weed “gifting” businesses. The D.C. Council is considering legislation to legalize recreational cannabis sales, but whether existing “gifting” businesses will be given an opportunity to join a forthcoming regulated market remains to be seen.
This story will be updated as new details emerge.