A high school senior and athlete with a “magnetic personality” from North Potomac, Maryland, was killed after a chance encounter ended with gunfire.
Simeon Mbuyu Mukuna, an 18-year-old student at Richard Montgomery High School, was shot and killed Saturday by Shawndel Weems, 23, of Monarch Mills Way, authorities say.
Weems said he fired because he thought Mukuna was “looking at him with malice,” newly released court records say.
According to police, Mukuna was helping a friend fix their car at an apartment complex on Monarch Mills Way Saturday evening.
Witnesses say Mukuna went to get a jacket out of his car. As he walked back across the parking lot, Weems pulled up beside him and fired nearly a dozen shots, killing the teen.
Charging documents say Weems told police he felt Mukuna, the victim, was going to try to harm him.
He also told police he had never seen Mukuna before.
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Weems is charged with murder, assault, use of a firearm in a felony and reckless endangerment. He remains in a Howard County jail without bond and is due in court next month.
According to police, investigators found a gun inside Weems' apartment and shell casings in his car.
The new revelations about Mukuna’s killing add to the immense heartbreak felt by family, friends and teachers at Richard Montgomery High School.
“Simeon was a kid who lit up the room, gregarious, he had a magnetic infectious smile,” Principal Damon Monteleone said.
Monteleone says in life, Simeon possessed a transcendent ability to bring people together. Now, his death has had the same affect.
People across Montgomery County have taken to social media to express their condolences.
Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker added his thoughts before a press conference.
“I want to send my deepest condolences on behalf of the council to the family and friends and loved ones of Simeon Mukuna,” Hucker said.
Those who knew Mukuna say he excelled in the classroom and on the football and soccer fields. He had his sights set on college and a career in the arts.
Grief counselors are helping students cope with the loss, especially Mukuna’s fellow seniors.
“With all the things the class of 2021 has gone through the weight of this is really heavy on their shoulders,” Principal Monteleone said.