Md. Man Is Killed When He Pulls Gun on Police After Manhunt Over Double Slaying

By Theola Labbé-DeBose and Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 3, 2009

Anne Arundel County police found two women shot to death in a house in Lothian early Wednesday morning. They got a tip that the shooter was spotted in a car in Upper Marlboro. So they called their colleagues in Prince George's County and asked them to check it out.

That professional courtesy led to a 20-minute chase through Prince George's that ended about 10 a.m. Wednesday when Prince George's police fatally shot the suspect in Southeast Washington.

Authorities identified the man as Theodore Blandford, 51 of Lothian. He was suspected of killing his wife, Sheena Blandford, 50, and her cousin, Cheryl Timmons, 55, of Pasadena. The Blandfords lived at the house where the slaying occurred, in the 200 block of Ella Welch Way, until earlier this month. Sheena Blandford filed a protective order against her husband, and he was ordered to move out. According to court papers filed Aug. 17, Sheena Blandford said her husband pulled a hammer out of his truck and threatened to hit her with it as they discussed his drug addiction.

"My husband was high [on] crack [and] started arguing with me about going into treatment," Sheena Blandford wrote. "He [turned] angry and aggressive."

She tried to flee in her car, but her husband got in his own vehicle and "drove it up very fast on the lawn to [warn] me," she wrote. Sheena Blandford said that she ran toward a neighbor's house and that her husband followed her.

"I am afraid to go home," she wrote.

Anne Arundel County District Court Judge Danielle M. Mosley granted Sheena Blandford a temporary protective order saying that Theodore Blandford could not contact his wife, and he had to leave their home by Aug. 19. At a hearing eight days later, Mosley issued a final protective order that extended through August 2010.

Prince George's Police Maj. Andy Ellis, a department spokesman, said the chase started when police went to the 15200 block of Marlboro Pike in Upper Marlboro to look for Blandford and a white Chevy Suburban.

The officer spotted the SUV, and Blandford fled. As many as nine police cruisers ended up chasing him, Ellis said.

Blandford led police up Route 202, to Brightseat Road, then to Glenarden Parkway, then to Route 704, Ellis said. From there he made a left on Eastern Avenue and continued to Southern Avenue, Ellis said. From Southern, the suspect made a right on Fitch Street, a right on Benning Road and a left on Minnesota Avenue.

Blandford bailed out of the vehicle at Minnesota Avenue and Ridge Road when he hit a police car, Ellis said. He emerged from his car with his gun drawn, and on the opposite side of a fence, nine officers fired dozens of shots his way, he said.

Numerous shots struck Blandford, Ellis said, but exactly how many was unclear. One source familiar with the incident said Blandford fired in the officers' direction; Ellis said only that he was brandishing a handgun.

The nine officers who fired came from Districts II and III and Special Operations, Ellis said. All have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of he investigation, as is normal procedure.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said D.C. officers did not join in the chase but monitored it and responded to the scene of the shooting, as is the policy.

Lanier said it was not uncommon for suburban suspects to wind up in the District.

"When we're talking about pursuing a homicide suspect, the county remaining in pursuit was the proper thing to do," Lanier said.

In addition to the double homicide, Blandford was a suspect in an attempted armed robbery in Prince George's on Tuesday night, Ellis said.

About 7 p.m., Ellis said, police believe Blandford approached a 58-year-old acquaintance on Queen Anne Bridge Road South in Upper Marlboro. Blandford tried to force the man into his own garage, but when the man balked, Blandford pulled out a handgun and demanded that he empty his pockets, Ellis said. When the man said he did not have any money, Blandford fired a shot into the ground and fled in a black Cadillac, Ellis said.

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