A Maryland police officer was shot and killed outside a police station on Sunday in an attack authorities are describing as “unprovoked,” MSN is reporting.
Prince George’s County Police Officer First Class Jacai Colson, 28, exchanged gunfire with two gunmen who opened fire outside the police station for seemingly no reason. The suspected gunman was wounded in the exchange and taken to an area hospital. A second gunman, described by the Washington Post as the suspect’s brother, was taken into custody.
Colson was killed in the exchange of gunfire.
Police Chief Henry Stawinski said the gunman waited at the district station in Landover, Maryland, and fired shots in order to draw police outside. He then opened fire on the first police officer he saw. That officer happened to be Colson.
— Matt (@MattOverton_LS) March 14, 2016
Witness Lascelles Grant told the Washington Post that she grabbed her sleeping 14-month-old son from his playpen when she heard the gunshots, which at first she thought might be firecrackers. When she looked out her window, she saw the suspect, dressed in black, firing his gun at the police station.
“He fired one shot, and then he started pacing back and forth, then fired another shot. Who would shoot a police station on Sunday evening? This is insane.”
Grant said that she then ran into a bathroom and hid, fearful that the gunman may come into her home and shoot her and her baby.
The two suspects have been identified by the Post as Malik and Michael Ford of nearby Temple Hills, Maryland.
Colson had been a police officer for about four years, working as a narcotics detective in the suburban Washington, D.C., police force.
Speaking to reporters from local CBS affiliate WTVR (Richmond, Virginia), Stawinski said that the suspected gunman and his associate had no motive other than to kill cops.
“It wasn’t about anything. This man launched an attack on a police station. 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.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered flags lowered to half-staff throughout The Old Line State.
“The First Lady and I send our sincere prayers to the family and loved ones of Officer Colson, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his fellow citizens and community.”
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) March 14, 2016
Meanwhile, words of support and encouragement are pouring in from around the country in honor of the slain officer.
Randolph-Macon College football coach Pedro Arruza, who guided the team when Colson played college football, praised the fallen officer’s character.
“He was a great kid. A really respectful kid and just a high-character young man. He treated everyone with respect… To be honest, he wasn’t a great player, but he was a really great person.”
Relatives of the suspected gunmen, meanwhile, are not convinced of the police’s version of the events that happened Sunday. Erica Thomas, who identified herself as the suspects’ aunt, believes there may be more to the story.
“What we wanna know is why did all of this happen? What caused this? That’s what we wanna know.”
Similarly, Deidre Ramos, who identified herself as the suspects’ grandmother, believes police have the wrong guys, saying, “They weren’t involved.”
Jacai Colson is the second Maryland police officer killed in the line of duty this year. Less than two weeks ago, Prince William County officer Ashley Guindon was shot and killed on her first day on the job.
[Image via Prince George’s County Police Department]