Gun violence

‘Trauma after trauma': Maryland funeral home owner charged in murder at child's burial

“I own this body!” the owner of a funeral home yelled during the burial of Arianna Davis on Tuesday, her mother said. Davis was 10 when she died after a bullet flew through her family’s car as they drove through Northeast D.C. on Mother's Day

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A D.C. mother was trying to bury her 10-year-old daughter after a shooter killed the child on Mother’s Day — but a deadly shooting carried out by the funeral home owner interrupted her burial service, police and the mother said.

The mother of Arianna Davis, Antionette Belk, said the shooting at Washington National Cemetery on Tuesday killed a family friend, injured a family member and prevented her from seeing her child’s casket get lowered into the ground.

“I’m so traumatized that this happened at my daughter’s burial site. I didn’t even get to lay her down, even to put her in the ground, and another incident happened. This is so traumatizing to me, my children, my whole family. It’s trauma after trauma,” Belk told News4 on Wednesday.

As the burial ceremony was getting underway in Suitland, Maryland, the owner of the funeral home providing burial services clashed with two people affiliated with a second funeral home with whom he had a long-standing business dispute, police said in an update Wednesday.

“I own this body!” Wilson Chavis yelled, according to Belk.

He spit on the preacher, the grieving mother said.

Several attendees of the burial confronted Chavis. He pulled out a gun, fired two shots and drove away from the cemetery, police said.

Minutes later, police pulled him over and took him into custody.

Ronald Steven Banks, of D.C., died after the shooting Tuesday. He was 30 and had served as a pallbearer for Davis. He was a close friend of the family and had intervened when the argument broke out, Belk said.

Ronald Steven Banks (Credit: Courtesy of family)

An adult cousin of Davis, a woman, was shot in the leg and wounded, Belk said.

The preacher — who was Davis’ uncle — was not injured, Belk said.

Belk said the argument between Chavis and people from a rival funeral home “had nothing to do with me and my family.”

Antionette Belk’s 10-year-old daughter, Arianna Davis, died after a bullet flew into the family’s car in D.C. on Mother’s Day. A gunman interrupted her child’s burial service in Maryland on Tuesday. Here’s what she said about the heartbreak.

Chavis, 48, of Hughesville, Maryland, was charged with first and second-degree murder, attempted first and second-degree murder, and related charges, Prince George’s County police said.

Davis, a fun-loving little girl, died after a bullet fired during a barrage of gunfire flew through her family’s car as they drove through Northeast D.C. on May 14. She, her parents and her two siblings had been headed home as they celebrated Mother’s Day.

Davis’ family and loved ones honored her at a funeral service at The Temple of Praise in Southeast D.C.

Anyone with potentially relevant information on the shooting that killed Davis or the shooting that killed Banks is asked to contact police.

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