By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 17, 2009
A motorist fatally shot by police in a gunfight near the U.S. Capitol late Wednesday afternoon had a record of arrests on drug and assault charges and was armed with a compact, pistol-like assault weapon capable of rapid fire, authorities said yesterday.
D.C. police identified the dead man as Kellen Anthony White, 27, whose last known address was in the Brandywine area of Prince George's County. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing, said White had "a lengthy record" of arrests and was carrying a weapon known as a MAC-11.
He was shot by U.S. Capitol Police about a block from the Capitol after officers tried to make a routine traffic stop, said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a Capitol Police spokeswoman. While fleeing, White "nearly ran over two officers," then shot at several officers after his car crashed into a police cruiser, she said.
Two officers suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene, Schneider said.
The incident began about 5:15 p.m. in the 100 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW when White, in a white Mercedes-Benz, fled "at a high rate of speed, driving erratically and dangerously," and struck an officer on foot outside Union Station, Schneider said.
During the chase, the Mercedes struck a parked car on New Jersey Avenue NW, then hit a police cruiser. When officers ordered White to drop his weapon and show his hands, White began shooting, Schneider said. She said at least two officers fired back.
White was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center.
The shooting is being investigated by D.C. police. Spokeswoman Traci Hughes said the results of the inquiry will be turned over to the U.S. attorney's office for review.
At the time of the shooting, the Senate was conducting a confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee. There was no indication that the shooting was related to the hearing or any government business, officials said. Schneider said the Capitol was safe throughout the incident.
The D.C. police official who described White's weapon said investigators found no record of outstanding warrants for White's arrest. The official also said the Mercedes was not a stolen vehicle. As for why White did not stop for police, the official said he might have been worried that officers would discover the MAC-11 in his car.
Terrance W. Gainer, Senate sergeant-at-arms, said in an interview that "more than several" workers at the Capitol complained in e-mails that authorities failed to warn them promptly Wednesday of what was happening near their offices.
"We will continue to work on a more timely dissemination of information to you," Gainer wrote in an e-mail reply to the employees.
"Because we have been attacked in different ways up here in the past, people take it seriously," Gainer said in the interview. "Clearly, the balance I need to strike is between getting information out that assuages people's fears or concerns, and distinguishing that from taking time to satiate things they're just curious to know.
"What'd I'd like to tell everyone is, if you haven't been told to do something differently, then continue doing what you're doing, and we'll get the information to you."
Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.