At 10:21 p.m. Thursday, police received a call from a woman in College Park. “It’s my son,” the woman said. “I think he’s smoked some PCP.”
Her voice steady, the woman told a Prince George’s County police dispatcher that 21-year-old Andre McKoy had a gun; she didn’t think it was loaded, but she was concerned.
“We have children in the house,” she said. “I don’t like the way he’s acting. He needs to go to the hospital or something.”
Moments later, according to a recording of the call provided by police and an account provided Friday by police officials, a five-minute drama began that involved more than a dozen officers, exchanges of gunfire and the theft of a police cruiser.
McKoy was charged Friday with attempted second-degree murder of a police officer, first-degree assault and other offenses, police said. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next month.
Officers shot McKoy several times, police said. He remained in a hospital Friday, and his condition was not considered life-threatening, a police spokesman said. No officers were hit by shots fired by McKoy, police said, but one suffered minor injuries during a scuffle with him.
Police are investigating the incident. Three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results, a routine step when an officer fires a service weapon. The officers’ names were not available last night.
At a news conference, Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis said his officers acted properly.
“Our only indication right now is that all of our officers acted courageously and bravely,” Davis said. “They were confronted by a crazed gunman who chose to be under the influence of PCP and shot at a [county] police officer.”
A woman answering the phone at a number believed to belong to McKoy’s mother hung up when a reporter identified himself. The Washington Post generally does not identify crime witnesses.
McKoy’s mother was mainly calm during the 911 call Thursday with the dispatcher, but the scene became tense at times. McKoy led her outside with his 40-caliber handgun pointed at her back, Davis said, and was met by a county police officer armed with a shotgun outside the house, in the 4700 block of Lakeland Road, Davis said.
McKoy opened fire, Davis said, and the woman ran to safety. Then McKoy and the officer exchanged shots, according to Davis, and McKoy was hit but held on to his gun.
“The PCP just provokes superhuman strength,” Davis said.
McKoy ran out into Route 1 nearby as two more officers arrived, Davis said. One officer hit McKoy with a stun gun, according to Davis, but it did not bring him down. McKoy ran north, dropping his handgun, Davis said.
McKoy then reached into his pants, according to Davis, who said officers feared that there was another gun and resumed firing, hitting him several times.
Davis did not say how many times McKoy was shot or how many shots were fired at him.
McKoy then ran to the side of the road and removed his pants, Davis said. As officers attempted to subdue him with a stun gun and batons, he tried unsuccessfully to get into a police car; he then found another car unlocked with the keys in the ignition and began to drive away, police said.
McKoy then swerved off the road, crashing into a brick wall about three feet tall next to a McDonald’s restaurant, Davis said. Eight to 10 officers swarmed McKoy and were able to subdue him, Davis said.
On Route 1 after the incident was over, nearly two dozen police cruisers from the county and the University of Maryland’s police department were on the scene. The cruiser that McKoy allegedly stole sat near the McDonald’s; a second cruiser with front-end damage was at an intersection a block away. It was unclear how that car was damaged.
Police cordoned off several blocks and the parking lot of a nearby strip mall as dozens of onlookers gathered.
Davis said Prince George’s police do not have a policy that governs leaving keys in the ignition of police cruisers. “That’s certainly a training aspect that we will address,” he said.
Spokesmen for two other area police departments said it is not uncommon for police officers to leave keys in the ignition of their cruisers, although they are expected to stay near the cars under those circumstances.
Clarence Williams contributed to this report.