Montgomery County Teen Fatally Shot

In Burtonsville, the area around Greencastle Road and Turbridge Drive is cordoned off as police investigate a fatal shootout.
In Burtonsville, the area around Greencastle Road and Turbridge Drive is cordoned off as police investigate a fatal shootout. (B Y Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post)

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By Daniel de Vise and Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 20, 2007

A drug suspect was shot and killed by Montgomery County police yesterday after he shot an undercover detective who was trying to make a purchase, county police said.

The detective, D.H. Oaks, was shot in a shoulder and the head about 2:30 p.m. as he sat in a vehicle in the Burtonsville area of northeast Montgomery, police said. He was in stable condition last night, police said.

The suspect was shot by an officer who was stationed at the site of the incident, a park-and-ride lot on Greencastle Road. Officers originally described the suspect as a teenager; last night they described him as "youngish" and "young looking" but said they could not give an age. His name was being withheld until his relatives could be notified, police said.

Fatal shootings by Montgomery police officers are relatively rare, according to Washington Post records. Police had no official figures yesterday, but Post records suggest that there have been only three such incidents since 2000.

Police said the detective drove to the park-and-ride lot to conduct a transaction with two individuals, at least one of whom he had dealt with previously.

The suspect and possibly one other person got into the car. During the attempted transaction, police said, the assailant got out of the car, drew a gun and shot the officer.

It was not clear last night what prompted the assailant to shoot.

"At this point, there are a lot of questions as to why what occurred occurred," Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said at a news conference last night. "It is still under investigation why the shooter fired."

Manger described undercover police work as always dangerous, adding that Oaks and the department "were very blessed" by the detective's survival.

After shooting the officer, police said, the assailant was shot by another officer, who was not identified.

The detective and the assailant were flown to hospitals. The assailant, who was shot in the torso, died at a hospital, police said.

Police took a person into custody yesterday at the scene and declined to release a name.

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