By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Three men posed for a picture early yesterday inside a legendary Prince George's County nightclub, the Ebony Inn. They flashed wads of fake cash, police say, then left and got into a fight in the parking lot with another group that ended in a barrage of gunfire, leaving a security guard wounded.
They also left behind the picture, which had been taken by someone in the club.
Yesterday, detectives from Prince George's County police began showing that color digital photo -- one of the clearest they say they have ever had of suspects in a major shooting -- hoping someone will recognize one or more of the three.
And that's only half the story of the shooting.
County police are also investigating the decision by a county police officer working security at the club -- which is owned by the family of former state senator Tommie Broadwater Jr. -- to fire at the suspects as they peeled out of the club's parking lot in the 5300 block of Sheriff Road in Forestville shortly after 2 a.m.
The off-duty officer, identified by police as Cpl. Raymond Harris, a 19-year veteran assigned to the Bureau of Patrol, appears to have fired through the rear window of the suspects' champagne-colored Cadillac before they eluded police during a short chase into the District.
"The officer was able to get one shot off at them," said Officer Evan Baxter, a police spokesman. "We're not positive that it was his shot that took out the rear windshield, but we're pretty sure that was the chain of events."
County police are trained to shoot when they perceive a deadly threat, and they have fired several times in the past year when suspects drove toward them. But police said it appeared that in this case, the suspects were driving away, and it was unclear whether they were still firing or how far from the scene they had driven when the officer opened fire.
Baxter said the officer was outside his vehicle "firing in response" to the security guard being shot. The guard was struck in the leg, possibly by a stray bullet, and is expected to recover, Baxter said.
Police are asking anyone with information about the vehicle or the three men in the photograph to call Prince George's police at 301-772-4910. Anonymous tips can also be left by calling the county's Crime Solvers hotline at 866-411-TIPS, or by texting "PGPD" plus a message to CRIMES (274637).