In late March, a similar incident involving an off-duty officer with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) unfolded in Washington, DC, after a 16-year-old boy had allegedly attempted to rob the official. The teen was shot in the arm and was subsequently charged with assault with the intent to commit robbery while armed with a BB gun.
An off-duty officer with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency has been placed on administrative leave after he shot and killed two people who he believed to be breaking into a car.
The deadly incident unfolded during the predawn hours on Wednesday in the parking lot area of the Takoma Overlook Condominiums in Takoma Park, Maryland. Officers from the Takoma Park Police Department responded to the scene at approximately 5:03 a.m. local time after dispatch received reports of multiple shots fired.
Citing dispatch audio acquired from Alertpage/OpenMHz, WJLA reported that an individual who dialed 911 claimed to have heard someone yelling “Get down! Get down!” moments before shots rang out. The officer, who has not yet been named, said he engaged the suspects after they failed to follow his direction.
A statement released by the Takoma Park Police Department details that the officer alleged the suspects attempted to flee in a vehicle, at which time he discharged his department-issued firearm.
Reports state that PFPA officers are bound by a 2008 use-of-force regulation, which says that officers may fire at moving vehicles “when an employee has a reasonable basis to believe that the vehicle poses an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm to the employee or others.”
Suffering from gunshot wounds, the two suspects, identified as 32-year-old Dominique Williams of Hyattsville and 38-year-old James Lionel Johnson of District Heights, managed to drive themselves to the Prince George’s Hospital (PGH). They both later succumbed to their injuries.
The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office has said they are currently gathering evidence and are working with the Takoma Police Department to investigate the incident.
In a statement given to WUSA9, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense confirmed that the officer involved in the fatal altercation has been employed with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency since July 2019.
Officials also noted that the official had previously served as a federal police officer between 2009 and 2019, as well as a US Army military policeman and a US Air Force combat crewman. Additionally, the Pentagon official confirmed that the unidentified officer is “current on all use of force and firearms qualifications.”
— Rebecca Tan (@rebtanhs) April 8, 2021
This incident unfolded just a day before US President Joe Biden announced to Congress a series of executive orders and demands for legislative action to address the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.