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Crime Scene
Posted at 06:29 PM ET, 11/29/2012

Man shot by D.C. police officer pointed gun at him, authorities say

A man whom a D.C. police officer shot and wounded Wednesday night near Howard University and who remains hospitalized in intensive care, has been charged with felony assault on a police officer and carrying a pistol, according to authorities.

Charging documents filed in court Thursday say the officer and suspect engaged in a brief standoff, pointing guns at each other, before the officer opened fire. Police said the wounded man’s gun, a .380 semi-automatic, was later found to be unloaded.

The suspect, Mark A. Vanderhall, 27, of Suitland, was ordered detained Thursday by a D.C. Superior Court judge. He could have another hearing on Friday, according to court records.

The charging documents reveal new details of the shooting, which occurred about 10:50 p.m. near Georgia Avenue and Kenyon Street Northwest.

The documents say an unidentified tactical officer in an unmarked vehicle saw Vanderhall walking east along a sidewalk. The officer made eye contact with the man, police said in the documents, and the officer ”then observed him making movements toward his waistband.” Those movements included him using his right hand to adjust his pants, police said.

Court documents say the officer — who was wearing an external ballistic vest with the words “police” on the front and back and a badge on a chain around his neck — feared the man was armed. He stopped Vanderhall and asked if he could pat him down, police said.

The documents say Vanderhall ran north on Georgia Avenue, drawing a black handgun from his waistband. Police said the officer got back into his car and chased after the suspect, shouting through his open window, “Police, stop, drop the gun.”

Police said the man made his way back to Kenyon Street and then an alley, where officers tried to box him in. Police had he had his gun in his right hand.

Authorities said said the man managed to run down another alley, where he stopped. The court documents say the tactical officer jumped out of his vehicle and again ordered Vanderhall to drop the gun.

“The defendant turned to his left and took a police type stance aiming his gun directly at [the officer],” the court documents state. “The [officer] ducked down behind the open door and fearing for his life fired several rounds at [Vanderhall].”

Vanderhall was struck and fell to the ground, police said, dropping a Hi-Point pistol. Police did not say where on his body or how many times he was struck.

The shooting remains under internal investigation by D.C. police.

A woman who answered the phone at Vanderhall’s home in Maryland said the man’s father had been unable to learn his son’s condition or anything about the case. She declined to be identified by name but said she was Vanderhall’s grandmother.

By  |  06:29 PM ET, 11/29/2012

 
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