Off-duty D.C. officer fired on several people, police say

August 26, 2011

An off-duty District police officer fired a handgun at several people, hitting at least one, during a confrontation early Friday, police said.

Police offered few details about the incident. According to a news release and statements by Chief Cathy L. Lanier, the officer — identified as Kenneth Furr — argued with five people before the shooting, which took place at First and Pierce streets NW.

Two of the people involved were transgender women who said they were wounded by gunfire after a traffic collision involving Furr.

In interviews, one said Furr approached her as she walked into a CVS in Northwest Washington. “His eyes were bloodshot,” she said. “I could smell the liquor on his breath. He told me he wanted to pay me to have sex with me. He kept trying to get me in his car.”

Furr did not touch her, she said, but he continued to harass her until a male friend intervened. She left the store with the friend, and they drove off with three other people in a car, she said. The Washington Post generally does not name victims or witnesses involved in criminal investigations.

Lanier’s account was less detailed. During a Friday conference call arranged by an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, she said that there had been a minor collision between cars carrying Furr and five individuals but that police did not know whether the crash or the shooting came first.

The woman who accused Furr of harassment said she was sitting in the back seat of one of the cars when the crash occurred. She and her friends did not know then that the other car was Furr’s, she said.

“He hopped out of the car, gun drawn, and started shooting at us,” said the other transgender woman, who also reported being wounded. “He was yelling, ‘What now? What now? All of y’all are going to die tonight.’ ”

Police said that one man was hit by gunfire and that the two transgender women were injured; all three suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

In interviews, the women said that they were grazed by bullets and that a male friend was also hit. Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump declined to comment on the women’s accounts because the investigation is continuing.

Police said Furr, who joined the department in 1990, was charged with driving while intoxicated and assault with a dangerous weapon. Crump said Furr’s police powers had been revoked and that the gun was not his service weapon. Furr would appear in court Saturday at the earliest, said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney.

Two transgender people were attacked, one fatally, earlier this summer in Northeast. Police said at the time that they were investigating the attacks as a “potential emerging pattern.”

“I am certainly concerned about recent incidents,” Lanier wrote in an e-mail. Police had not concluded that Friday’s incident was bias-related, she wrote.

Staff writers Dan Zak and Keith L. Alexander contributed to this report.

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