A gunman opened fire outside a police station in a Maryland suburb of Washington on Sunday afternoon, setting off a shootout in which one officer was killed.
Two suspects were in custody on Sunday night in connection with the attack in Landover, Md. The authorities identified the officer killed as Jacai Colson, 28, a four-year veteran of the Prince George’s County police force.
One of the suspects was believed to be the gunman, who the police said was struck during the gunfight and was in custody at a hospital. The second suspect was brought in for questioning. Charges were pending on Sunday night, the police said.
The gunman fired on the station around 4:30 p.m. Officer Colson returned fire but was fatally shot, the police said in a statement. The department described the shooting as an “ambush” and an “unprovoked attack.”
“This man launched an attack on a police station and engaged several Prince George’s County police officers in a gunfight to which they responded heroically,” Henry P. Stawinski III, the chief of the county Police Department, said at a news conference on Sunday night outside Prince George’s Hospital Center.
The chief said Officer Colson “immediately stepped into action,” adding, “I am very proud of him.”
Lascelles Grant, who lives next to the station, told The Washington Post that she and her baby hid in her bathroom when the gunfire began. She said she looked out her window and saw a man dressed in black firing a handgun at the station.
“He fired one shot, and then he started pacing back and forth, then fired another shot,” Ms. Grant told The Post.
John Teletchea, the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, told reporters that Officer Colson was “a real cop’s cop” who had been “a very close friend.”
“Jacai had an infectious smile,” he said. “He lit up a room. He was a tremendous personality that made everybody smile and wanted to be everything to everybody.”
Officer Colson, who was assigned to the Narcotic Enforcement Division, would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week, the department said.
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said in a statement on Facebook that flags in the state would fly at half-staff in honor of Officer Colson.
“It is my hope that his proud legacy of commitment and passion for law enforcement and serving others will provide some comfort in the difficult days that lie ahead,” the governor said.
Both suspects were taken into custody before 7 p.m. The police said that they did not believe there were more suspects, but said that the investigation was in its early stages. They said the gunman’s motive was not yet known.
The shooting occurred outside the department’s District 3 station, which it said was next to department headquarters, about 10 miles from downtown Washington.
The sudden burst of gunfire led the authorities at 5 p.m. to urge residents in nearby neighborhoods to take shelter. The order was lifted shortly after 7:30, the police said.
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