The Maryland police officer who was killed during an ambush of a local police headquarters was apparently shot by his fellow officers in what could be a case of mistaken identity.
Prince George’s County Police Officer Jacai Colson responded to the call that his fellow officers were under attack. He arrived on the scene in an unmarked car while wearing civilian clothes. In the confusion of the gun battle, Colson was struck by a bullet fired by another police officer, Police Chief Hank Stawinski told reporters during a press conference Monday afternoon. The shooting took place late on Sunday afternoon, Breitbart Texas previously reported.
The attack was allegedly carried out by three brothers, Michael, Malik and Elijah Ford. All three men were arrested. Michael Ford is accused of being the gunman. He was shot during the attack and taken to a hospital for treatment.
Fox News reported Chief Stawinski saying, “This appears to be the act of the Ford brothers, for their own motives. We have reason to suspect that the Ford brothers did not expect (Michael Ford) to survive his encounter with police.”
The attack began at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday when the gunman opened fire on the first officer he encountered outside the police headquarters, the chief told reporters. A gun battle erupted and several officers engaged the shooter. Officer Colson arrived at the scene in an unmarked car while wearing plain clothes. He was working undercover and not wearing body armor when he was struck by a bullet fired by one of his fellow officers.
Chief Stawinski said that Colson jumped out of his car and “heroically” drew fire from the gunman. It was while he was exchanging gunfire with the suspect that he was struck by the other officer’s bullet, the Washington Post reported. Colson’s distracting move allowed other officers to get in a position to take down the shooter.
A cruiser draped in black bunting will be parked outside of the Dis III station in honor of Fallen Officer Colson. pic.twitter.com/hg1DTLlQ9U
— PGPDNEWS (@PGPDNews) March 14, 2016
Colson was taken to the hospital where he died from his wound. The four-year veteran of the department would have turned 29 later this week.
The Prince George’s County police chief said it wasn’t clear if Colson was struck intentionally in a case of mistaken identity, or if he was accidentally hit by officers shooting to stop the gunman.
Apparently, after Colson opened fire on Michael Ford, the then ran down one of the streets causing Ford to chase him. The other officers joined in the chase and it appears that is when Colson was shot, the Washington Post reported.
“He was just a great human being,” Colson’s former football coach, Pedro Arruza, said. “He was a very positive, positive person and an upbeat guy, a good person to be around. He had a lot of friends on campus, everybody liked him. He was just a really high-character guy.”
One of Colson’s academy classmates told reporters, “He always wanted to be a police officer. Everyone is taking it real bad, real bad. I’m talking to my classmates, checking in on them. We’re not doing well.”
Apparently Michael Ford intended to die during the attack. The 22-year-old accused killer recorded his last will and testament in a cell phone video just before the shooting on Sunday, the Washington Post reported.
Ford’s brothers apparently recorded the attempted suicide-by-cop attack on video.
Michael Ford remains in the hospital where he is expected to recover from his wounds. He and his two brothers face 21 charges in connection with the attack including second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and conspiracy. Officers believe the three men acted alone and were not part of some larger plan.
The Washington Post reported the following account of the shooting:
The brothers had a conversation about the ambush at 4:17 p.m. Sunday, and Michael Ford recorded his final message, police said. Police did not describe what he said, but shortly after 4:30 p.m., the shooting began on Barlowe Road.
The younger brothers drove Michael Ford to the police station before he got out and fired. the chief said. During the firefight, he shot at two SUVs and a passing ambulance, police said.
Through it all, at least one of his brothers sat in a red car and watched, recording the incident.
One of the images released by police reportedly shows Michael Ford pointing a gun at a person hiding behind a police van. The video was shot by one of his brothers in the mirror of the car where he was hiding.
Michael Ford’s relatives say he suffers from bipolar disorder. It is not known, at this time, why the two brothers went along with Michael’s apparent attempt to kill himself by attacking the officers.