Off-duty D.C. police officer convicted of assault with a deadly weapon

A D.C. police officer who jumped onto the hood of a packed car and fired five gunshots at its occupants minutes after offering a transgender woman $500 for sex was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon Friday.

Kenneth D. Furr, 48, also was convicted of solicitation. He was acquitted of the most serious charge he faced, assault with intent to kill, and six related offenses stemming from an Aug. 26, 2011, argument that turned violent.

Furr faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the assault conviction and 90 days for solicitation when he is sentenced in January. He could have faced up to 30 years behind bars if he had been convicted of all the charges against him.

During a week-long trial in D.C. Superior Court, prosecutors argued that Furr became aggressive after the transgender woman declined his offer to pay for sex. His attorneys, David Knight and Kia Sears of the District’s Public Defender Service, said Furr was defending himself from a group of attackers.

At the time of the incident, Furr — who was off duty — had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit for drivers in the District. He approached a transgender woman in the area of 4th and K streets NW about 4 a.m. and offered her $100 for sex; he then followed her to a nearby CVS drugstore, where he offered her $500.

After she told two male friends who were in the store about Furr, they confronted him.

An argument between Furr and the men moved outside the store, and Furr showed the men a gun before driving away. The transgender woman and four other people, including the two men, followed in another car.

When Furr’s car came to a stop, they pulled up beside him and someone began punching Furr in the face; prosecutors argued that one man attacked him, while defense attorneys said both men took part. After Furr drove off, they slammed their car into his.

Furr then climbed out of his car and onto the other car’s hood and opened fire. Three occupants were injured.

Furr did not testify during the trial, but several of the people in the other car did. Their accounts were at times contradictory, with some describing active roles in an attack on Furr and others saying they were asleep during the incident.

Furr’s attorneys suggested the inconsistencies indicated that their stories were made up, while prosecutors said their different vantage points inside their car made their stories necessarily different.

The shooting took place at First and Pierce streets NW, blocks from an area that is a popular hangout for transgender women who sometimes work as prostitutes during late-night and early morning hours, testified one witness, a transgender woman. Some of their customers are men who “freestyle,” or have sex with transgender women, one of the men testified.

Furr, who has been in D.C. jail since his arrest shortly after the shooting, was ordered released by Judge Russell F. Canan. Members of his family, seated in the courtroom, wept and hugged after Canan ordered him freed.

Prosecutors objected to freeing Furr, saying he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence early one morning in the same neighborhood in 2004. Canan ordered Furr, who will be monitored by court officials while awaiting sentencing, to undergo drug and alcohol testing, gave him a curfew and told him to stay out of the District — he lives in Prince George’s County — except for meetings with his attorneys.

Furr, who spent seven years in the Army before joining the police force in 1990, has been suspended without pay.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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