Delivery Man Shot by Off-Duty Officer Last Week, Dies

By Eric Rich and Daniela Deane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 2, 2007; 12:34 PM

One of the two Marlo furniture delivery men shot by the No. 2 homeland security official in Prince George's County during a routine furniture delivery died overnight, police and the attorney for the men's families said today.

Brandon D. Clark, 22, of Oxon Hill, died early this morning at the Prince George's Hospital Center of wounds sustained during the Jan. 24 incident, police and attorney Michael J. Winkelman said.

"My investigators were notified that Brandon Clark was taken into surgery early this morning and died," said a written statement issued by Prince George's County Police Chief Melvin C. High. "This is an unfortunate turn of events that now becomes a part of the internal and criminal investigation."

The other Marlo delivery man, Robert White, 36, remains in critical condition.

Clark died without being able to make any statement to police about the events of that evening. Police have also been unable to question White, who is intubated and unable to speak, Winkelman said.

The men were shot by Cpl. Keith Washington, who is a police officer as well as a top homeland security official in Prince George's County, at Washington's home in Accokeek during what was supposed to have been a simple swap: one Marlo Furniture bedroom set for another.

"The family would appreciate time to grieve before making further comment," Winkelman said in a statement read to assembled media in front of the Prince George's Hospital Center this morning.

"However, they would like to express gratitude for the outpouring of public and private support they have received. We would ask for your continued thoughts and prayers for Robert White, who remains in critical condition."

An argument began between Washington and the two men and escalated quickly, authorities said after the incident. It ended when Washington, a 16-year police veteran, drew a 9 mm Beretta and opened fire on the unarmed movers, police said.

Initially, the two critically wounded men were in police custody in the hospital. But Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey determined last week that they should be released from custody as the department backed off earlier statements that the men would probably face assault charges.

Washington, 45, a former driver for County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), has long been a controversial figure. He was sued in 2000 by a man who claimed to have been arrested and strip-searched for protesting Washington's rough treatment of a motorist; a civil verdict against Washington for that incident was overturned on appeal. Washington also was later temporarily suspended for alleged aggressive behavior during meetings of a homeowners association board on which he served.

Ivey said last week that two investigations of the incident will proceed on separate tracks: One team of police detectives will investigate the use of force by Washington, and a second set of detectives will look into what crimes, if any, occurred during the encounter.

Clark's family has described the deceased delivery man as a gentle giant, easygoing and slow to anger.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company