Funeral home owner accused of fatally shooting pallbearer at child’s burial

Francis Akhalbey June 09, 2023
Wilson Chavis (left) is accused of fatally shooting Ronald Steven Banks (right) -- Left photo credit: Prince George's County Police Department | Right photo via family

Authorities in Maryland said a funeral home owner on Tuesday allegedly shot and killed a man who was serving as a pallbearer during the burial of a 10-year-old shooting victim. According to NBC4 Washington, the accused, identified as 48-year-old Wilson Chavis, was contracted to render funeral services for Arianna Davis, a 10-year-old girl who was fatally shot after her family’s car got caught in gunfire on May 14.

The deceased girl’s mother, Antionette Belk, said the suspect rather interrupted the service that was being held at the Washington National Cemetery. Besides the shooting death of family friend, Ronald Steven Banks, a family member also got injured from Tuesday’s shooting.

The incident also happened before the minor was buried. “I’m so traumatized that this happened at my daughter’s burial site,” Belk said. “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.”

During the commencement of the burial ceremony, Chavis is said to have gotten into an altercation with two people who were linked to another funeral home that the suspect had an ongoing business feud with, police said.

Court documents also stated that a verbal and physical altercation ensued, with Chavis directing words toward the pastor who was overseeing the service, per WUSA9. “I’m here for all you b—- a– n——,” the suspect allegedly said. The pastor apparently did not react, but Chavis allegedly shoved him before saying, “This ain’t your f—— funeral home.” 

Chavis was ultimately confronted by the funeral attendees for showing no respect to the mourning family, but he tripped and fell as he began to retreat. Court documents stated that he subsequently drew a gun and fired at Banks. A woman also got grazed by the second bullet the suspect fired after he stood up.

Belk told NBC4 Washington that Banks was a close family friend who was serving as a pallbearer for her daughter’s funeral. She also said that the dispute between Chavis and the other funeral home “had nothing to do with me and my family.”

Police said Chavis was later arrested after he left the cemetery in his car and has since been charged with first and second-degree murder, attempted first and second-degree murder, and related charges.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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