PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. — Three brothers are in custody in connection with the shooting death of a Prince George’s County, Maryland, police officer who was killed after at least one of the suspects opened fire on a police station, authorities said Monday.
Three brothers have been arrested in connection with the shooting: Michael Ford, Elijah Ford, and Malik Ford. Chief Hank Stawinski said Michael Ford is the suspected shooter who opened fire at the police station. The evidence shows the suspected gunman had intended to die during a gunbattle with police.
Chief Hank Stawinski told reporters Sunday that the suspect launched an unprovoked attack. Officers returned fire.
During the exchange, the suspect was wounded, Stawinski said. He is expected to survive.
According to Stawinski, the suspect opened fire on the first officer he saw. Other officers then became aware of what was happening and returned fire.
“It wasn’t about anything. This man launched an attack on a police station,” the chief said about the suspect. “Officers weren’t in the process of apprehending him or engaging him in any way. They were going about their business on a Sunday afternoon, at their ‘home,’ when they were attacked.”
The chief identified the fallen officer as Jacai Colson, a four-year veteran of the department. Colson would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week. An autopsy on the Maryland officer who died in the incident showed that he was “inadvertently shot by a fellow responding officer during the gun battle,” police said in a statement.
Colson was assigned to the department’s narcotic enforcement division and had worked as an undercover officer — though that had nothing to do with his killing, Stawinski said.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Teletchea described the attack as unprovoked and unprecedented.
He remembered Colson as someone with an infectious smile and tremendous personality.
“He was a police officer who was a real cop’s cop. He didn’t shy away from any calls. He never shirked his responsibility. He was always working and he was always there for his fellow brothers and sisters,” Teletchea said.
He added: “Personally, he was a very close friend of mine. I’m going to miss him dearly.”
In a statement, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he was “shocked and saddened” by Colson’s killing. He ordered that flags fly at half-staff in his memory.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch similarly mourned the officer’s death, calling the shooting a “heinous act of violence and a cowardly crime.”
“His tragic loss is a reminder of the threats that public safety officers face every day and the dangers that they bravely confront, in every jurisdiction across the country. The Department of Justice will offer any possible aid to the Prince George’s County community as they investigate this terrible crime, and we will continue to do all that we can to protect and support our officers and hold wrongdoers accountable,” she said.