WASHINGTON - An arrest has been made in the murder of Armani "Nico" Coles, a 27-year-old D.C. schools employee found shot by Interstate 295 near the Maryland and D.C. border, authorities have announced.
The suspect has been identified as 20-year-old Malique Nathan Lewis of Southeast D.C. He was being held without bond on charges including first-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and theft.
“I am glad to have some closure,” Amber Coles, Armani Coles' mother told FOX 5 on Tuesday. “I want to ask that person why would they take a life so precious away from his family. Armani was my perfect Angel. He was the worlds greatest dad and son.”
D.C. police have said they’re investigating whether Armani Coles' murder was connected to two other murders in D.C. that happened on the same day, Dec.28.
About an hour after Armani Coles was found, 23-year-old Kerrice Lewis was discovered in the trunk of a burning car on Adrian Place near Ridge Road in Southeast, just a few miles from where Armani Coles' body was discovered. She was also shot, according to police.
Friends said Armani Coles and Kerrice Lewis knew each other and grew up in the same part of D.C.
Kerrice Lewis’ last post to Instagram before she died was a picture of Ronzay Green, a 23-year-old who was shot that same Thursday on Eastern Avenue in Northeast. D.C.
Authorities later arrested 23-year-old Dennis Whitacker from Northeast D.C. It’s still unclear if the murders are connected.
Police believe Armani Coles was pushed from a car onto the shoulder of the road at Kenilworth and Eastern avenues.
“He lived for his family. He adored me, he adored his son,” Amber Coles told FOX 5 in a prior interview.
Armani Coles was a father to an 8-year-old son and worked as a custodian for D.C. Public Schools.
“He never was involved in violence. No drugs, no anything. His family was his life,” his mother said.
FOX 5 also spoke to the family of Kerrice Lewis.
“Devastating. Can't put it in words,” says Kerrice Lewis’ grandfather William Sharp.
Sharp say says he and his wife raised Kerrice Lewis after her parents died when she was about 11 years old.
“Her mother died of a brain aneurysm and her father was tragically murdered up in the D.C. area,” Sharp said.
He said the deaths put his granddaughter on a rough path. She ended up serving time behind bars recently, but Sharp said she was trying to do better. Her family said it doesn't know who was responsible for such a savage killing.
Sharp said the burning Lexus that Kerrice Lewis was found in was her car. A source told FOX 5 Kerrice Lewis was screaming and trying to escape as the car burned.
“Any time you lose a family member, especially like this, it just rips your heart out,” Sharp said.
A GoFundMe page was established to help Armani Coles' family with funeral expenses.
Anyone with information that could aid detectives in their investigation was urged to call Prince George's County Police Department's Homicide Unit (301) 772-4925.