A Prince George's County Police officer responding to a home invasion shot at the apparently armed suspects she saw emerging from a Seat Pleasant area townhouse Wednesday morning, according to authorities and law enforcement officials. They said it is unclear whether the gunfire struck anyone.
Police arrested a male suspect at the scene of the incident in the 6900 block of Opal Place, but one or two others got away, said Lt. William Alexander, a Prince George's County Police spokesman.He said police were uncertain how many took part in the crime and that the arrested suspect had not been shot. Officers called in dogs and a helicopter to try to find the others, who might have been hit by the officer's gunfire, Alexander said.
He said two people were believed to be inside the home when the intruders came in and that they were not hurt.
Police were sent to the home about 9 a.m. for a reported home invasion in progress and found the townhouse appeared to have been broken into, Alexander said. He said one officer stood at the home's front door while another stood out back, waiting for anyone inside to come out .
The officer at the back was then "engaged by one or more armed suspects," Alexander said. He said the officer fired at the suspects. He declined to identify the officer but said she will be placed on administrative leave while police investigate the incident -- standard procedure for police involved shootings. She and the other officer were not hurt, Alexander said.
Alexander said police recovered two guns at the scene -- one inside the home and another outside -- but did not yet know whether those weapons belonged to the occupants or intruders.
Alexander said that, at this time, investigators do not believe the home was invaded randomly; a law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the ongoing probe without fear of being disciplined, said detectives were investigating possible drug activity there.
Neighbors said they were shaken up by the latest violent incident, noting that a murder witness was slain not far away in recent months.
"We tired of it," said one man who declined to give his name. "We tired of the home invasions. We tired of the break-ins."
A man who lives down the street said he was working from home Wednesday morning when he heard two distinct gunshots. He said he ran to his window and saw someone running down a grassy path that separates one row of townhouses from another in the neighborhood.
"He was booking it," said the man, who declined to give his name because his job prevents him from being quoted in news reports.
The man said he could tell only that the person running was young and wearing blue jeans. He said that when he went outside to probe what happened further, police told him to go back inside.
"It's kind of stressful," the man said. "There’s a whole lot of stuff that’s been happening in the Capitol Heights area, so I’m panicked at this point."