Mar 14, 2016
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Maryland police officer slain in ambush, two suspects arrested

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By Jonathan Ernst

LANDOVER, Md. (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire on a police station in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., on Sunday, killing one officer in what authorities called an unprovoked attack before the assailant and a second suspect were arrested.

The accused gunman was wounded in the ensuing shootout with several officers outside the station but was expected to survive, Prince George’s County Police Chief Henry Stawinski told reporters hours later.

The second suspect, who was believed to have accompanied the shooter but fled the scene when the gunfire began, was taken into custody about 30 minutes later following a search of the area, Stawinski said.

Neither suspect was immediately identified.

Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski (R) leads police officials in confirming one of their officers was shot and killed, during remarks at a news conference at Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski (R) leads police officials in confirming one of their officers was shot and killed, during remarks at a news conference at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The police chief said he could offer no explanation for what might have precipitated the attack on the District 3 police station, which lies adjacent to county police headquarters in Landover, Maryland, about 8 miles (13 km) east of Washington.

“It wasn’t about anything,” Stawinski told reporters at a news conference outside the hospital where the slain undercover officer, Jacai Colson, 28, was declared dead. Colson, a four-year veteran of the force, had been rushed to the hospital by a fellow officer in the back of a squad car.

“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,” Stawinski said.

Officers form a backdrop behind Prince George's County Police officials as they confirm one of their officers was shot and killed, during remarks at a news conference at Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Officers form a backdrop behind Prince George’s County Police officials as they confirm one of their officers was shot and killed, during remarks at a news conference at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

He called the late-afternoon attack unprovoked, adding: “My understanding is he opened fire on the first officer he saw and then continued that conduct as officers became aware of what was going on, and then several officers engaged him.”

Police officers console each other outside the Prince George's Hospital Center where another officer, shot in the line of duty nearby, was being treated in Cheverly, Maryland, March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Police officers console each other outside the Prince George’s Hospital Center where another officer, shot in the line of duty nearby, was being treated in Cheverly, Maryland, March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

One eyewitness was quoted in The Washington Post as saying she heard the sound of what she thought were firecrackers outside, then looked out her window to see a man dressed in black firing a handgun at the police station.

“He fired one shot, and then he started pacing back and forth, then fired another shot,” Lascelles Grant, a nurse who lives nearby, told the newspaper. Grant said she then saw police officers pouring out of the station.

Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski (2nd R) leads police officials in confirming one of their officers was shot and killed, during remarks at a press conference at Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski (2nd R) leads police officials in confirming one of their officers was shot and killed, during remarks at a press conference at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Police said the second suspect was under questioning Sunday night and no other individuals were believed to have been involved in the incident. According to the Post, authorities described the second suspect as the gunman’s brother.

Police officers lead a fellow officer away as he sobbed outside the Prince George's Hospital Center where another officer, shot in the line of duty nearby, is being treated in Cheverly, Maryland, March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Police officers lead a fellow officer away as he sobbed outside the Prince George’s Hospital Center where another officer, shot in the line of duty nearby, is being treated in Cheverly, Maryland, March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

John Teletchea, president of the Fraternal Order of Police union local, called the fallen officer a “cop’s cop.”

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Frank McGurty in New York; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Andrew Hay and Peter Cooney)

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