The Washington Post

Jaywalker found with gun: police

In the context of getting guns off the streets, it’s probably a good thing the jaywalker ran from the police.

What could have been the most routine of stops, according to Montgomery County police, turned into a footchase Wednesday afternoon that yielded a loaded, Jennings 9 mm handgun. The suspect, identified by police as Foday Abdulai Gassama, 21, was charged with several firearms-related charges and failing to comply with the lawful order of a police officer, officials said Thursday. He was being held on a $5,000 bond.

The incident unfolded about 3:50 p.m. Wednesday, when officers saw three males and a female jaywalking on Bel Pre Road in Aspen Hill. When one of the officers tried to stop them to ask questions, Gassama took off into a nearby neighborhood, according to police. That officer gave chase and a second officer eventually apprehended Gassama.

The officers noticed he was no longer carrying a red-and-black backpack. They retraced his route, and found the backpack in the trash can along a residential driveway on Manor Park Court.

“It falls under the category of abandoned property at that point,” said Officer Janelle Smith, a Montgomery police spokeswoman.

The officers had a look inside — and found the gun. There were two children playing nearby, police said.

Gassama has pending assault and robbery charges and is scheduled to appear in court on June 11, according to online court records.

While in jail, perhaps Gassama is second-guessing his decision to flee. The officer may have just told him not to jaywalk or issued a citation, neither of which would have necessarily meant a backpack search.

“If he would have stopped and listened to him [the officer], he likely would have been sent on his way,” Smith said.

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.


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