The Washington Post

Prince George’s officer fatally shoots man police say wielded replica guns

Officials say altercatio­n near apartment building preceded the incident

- BY KATIE METTLER katie.mettler@washpost.com Alice Crites contribute­d to this report.

A Prince George’s County police officer shot and killed a man Friday afternoon outside an Oxon Hill-area public housing complex after police said the man produced two guns — which authoritie­s identified as replicas after the encounter.

During a news conference hours after the shooting, Police Chief Malik Aziz did not release the name of the man or the officer who fired his weapon. Neighbors said the man’s mother lived in the building and he helped care for her, though police said he was recently banned from the property because of “behavioral” issues that may have involved his mental health.

The unnamed officer, Aziz said, is assigned to the bureau of patrol and has been with the department for 12 years. It was unclear whether the officer was working as a private security guard at the time or was officially on patrol.

Residents said the officer lived in the building and performed security duties.

The officer first encountere­d the man inside the Owens Road apartment building about 12:40 p.m., Aziz said, when the man came to the front desk to pick up delivery food. The front desk worker recognized the man, knew he had been banned and asked the officer to remove him from the property, police said.

The man and officer exited the building. A “verbal altercatio­n” then escalated to a “physical altercatio­n,” Aziz said, and the fight spilled onto Owens Road.

At that point, police said, the man pulled what appeared to be a handgun from a bag stashed outside the complex. When he pointed it at the officer, the officer told him to drop it, police said. Though his gun was fake, Aziz said, it appeared the man attempted to

fire it before throwing it in a nearby wooded area.

The officer tried to use a Taser on the man twice, Aziz said, but it was unclear whether the man was hit. The man then retrieved what appeared to be a long gun, police said. Again, the officer told him to drop the weapon before shooting at the man “multiple times” and killing him.

Police later determined that both the hand gun and long gun were “realistic”-looking replicas.

Aziz said the officer was transporte­d to a hospital with injuries to his hand and face. The chief said he could not say as of Friday afternoon whether body-camera footage of the shooting was captured. The name of the officer, as well as the man who was killed, will be released “when the time is appropriat­e,” Aziz said.

Residents of the Owens Road apartments were rattled Friday afternoon, coming home from work or errands to find their road shut down and news that the son of one of their neighbors had been fatally shot by police.

Viola West, 74, sat outside the police tape, allowing friends and neighbors to congregate in and around her car until the officers would let them back to their homes.

She said she had been sitting in her apartment when she got a

phone call from a friend asking if she’d heard the gunshots — about six bangs, followed by another two. She hadn’t, she said, because she hardly notices the sound of gunfire anymore after 10 years in the area she described as known for its crime.

But when West walked outside to investigat­e, her neighbors told her what they’d seen. A man had been shot and killed. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. He was the son of a woman who lived on the first floor — a woman who was West’s friend.

She walked to the woman’s apartment to tell her the news. “She went off,” West said. “She was angry, mad, just hurt.”

West comforted the woman and walked her outside to the police, who by then were gathered at the scene of the shooting preparing to interview witnesses.

The man’s body was in the street, residents later said, near a bus stop.

In interviews, residents said the man had a mental health disorder and had been banned from the property. The chief would not specify why he had been banished but said the man had a history of intimidati­ng or threatenin­g residents in the community.

 ?? KATIE METTLER/THE WASHINGTON POST ?? Prince George’s County police officers block Owens Road while the department investigat­es a shooting involving one of its officers.
KATIE METTLER/THE WASHINGTON POST Prince George’s County police officers block Owens Road while the department investigat­es a shooting involving one of its officers.

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