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The Metropolitan Police Department says the weapon of a man whom an officer fatally shot around 2 a.m. Monday was later determined to be a BB gun.
The shooting happened on the 5300 block of Clay Terrace NE, the same block where an MPD officer non-lethally shot a woman who had pulled out a knife in broad daylight last August. The following month, gunfire broke out on the same block around 11:30 a.m., leading to the death of one man and injuring another.
“An officer attempted to stop an individual, which was followed by a brief foot pursuit and struggle,” MPD states in a news release late this morning. “During this struggle, the suspect failed to comply with the officer’s commands and produced a firearm. The officer then discharged his service weapon.”
The suspect was pronounced dead after being taken to a local hospital. He has not been publicly identified “pending notification of next of kin.” Aquita Brown, a MPD spokesperson, said the investigation is ongoing and that she could not comment beyond what was contained in the release. The name of the officer has also not been identified.
Last Thursday, the D.C. Auditor published a review of MPD’s use-of-force policies and procedures, finding “deficiencies” in them though they generally complied with federal guidelines and best practices.
Update 2:25 p.m. At a press conference Monday afternoon, Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters that MPD was still investigating the incident, but provided a sequence of events based on the “very preliminary” information available. Shortly after 2 a.m., Lanier said, the firing officer—a member of the sixth patrol district and a white man who has spent “just under two years on the force”—”observed the male suspect acting strangely, suspiciously.”
When the officer confronted the suspect, the latter lost his footing and fell to the ground, according to Lanier. In falling, a weapon dislodged from the suspect’s person and also fell to the ground. The suspect attempted to reach for the weapon while disobeying the officer’s orders to stand down; the officer fired one round at him, Lanier said.
The recovered firearm was a “replica of a semi-automatic handgun,” or a BB gun, the chief added: The suspect has not been “positively identified”—although “he appears to be an adult”—and another six to seven hours of evidence gathering remain. Asked about the location of the incident, Lanier said that area of Clay Terrace has 24/7 police presence because it is known to be the site of shootings and homicides. (“PCP is extremely prevalent” there, Lanier said.)
Photo by Darrow Montgomery