By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
A Prince George's County police officer responding to an assault call in District Heights yesterday morning fatally shot an unarmed man who allegedly made a threatening movement, police said.
It was the fourth shooting by county officers in three weeks and the second killing.
Cpl. Diane Richardson provided this account of yesterday's incident:
About 1:30 a.m., a county patrol officer from District III went to the 1900 block of Rochelle Avenue in response to a report of a man assaulting a woman. The officer arrived and saw a man later identified as Gregory B. Boggs Jr., 24, standing over a woman, who was on the ground beside an apartment building.
The officer ordered Boggs away from the woman. Boggs picked up the woman, and the officer told him to let her go. The woman either fell or was pushed away.
When the officer ordered Boggs to put his hands up, he reached for his waistband. Fearing that Boggs was reaching for a weapon, the officer fired one round into his upper body.
Boggs was unarmed, police said. He was taken to an area hospital and pronounced dead.
The officer, who was not immediately identified, was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. A county grand jury will also investigate.
Boggs's relatives said yesterday that they did not believe the police account.
Boggs, who lived with his family in a townhouse in Upper Marlboro, went to the District Heights apartment complex to watch a football game with his girlfriend, relatives said.
Boggs was arguing with her when police arrived, said Mary Pitt, Boggs's aunt. Pitt said relatives have spoken with the woman, who Pitt said was not injured.
Pitt said she didn't believe Boggs would do anything to provoke deadly force.
Relatives said Boggs graduated in 2001 from Suitland High School, where he played on the school's football team.
According to Prince George's Circuit Court records, Boggs was facing charges of possession with intent to distribute about $4,000 worth of crack cocaine, second-degree assault and resisting arrest in connection with an incident June 4 in Upper Marlboro.
Charging documents allege that Boggs pushed and ran away from an officer who tried to conduct a traffic stop about 3 a.m. As he ran, Boggs dropped two bags of crack cocaine, and a loaded .40-caliber handgun was found in his vehicle, the documents said. Boggs was charged with a handgun violation, which was dismissed by a judge Friday.
Richardson said so many police shootings occurring in a short period is an aberration.
In each of the four incidents, officers feared for their lives or for the lives of civilians, Richardson said.
"You can't put all these cases together," Richardson said. "Each should be viewed individually. In each case, the officer had real fear and reacted to that fear."
On Sept. 4, two county police officers, Robert E. Lee and Bruce Bowen, fatally shot a man in District Heights who allegedly drew a .40-caliber handgun, police said. The man, Anthony A. Johnson, 35, had threatened two workers at a nearby grocery store, police said.
The other two recent shootings occurred Sept. 3. In one, Officer David Cheatham Jr. wounded his mother in the Landover home they shared. Cheatham believed his mother was an intruder, police said.
In the other incident, Officer Curtis Gouldin shot a man he believed to be holding a weapon in Clinton. The man, who was wounded in the wrist, was holding a cellphone.