An off-duty Philadelphia Housing Authority police officier was arrested by Prince George's County police Saturday night after he allegedly shot a District Heights man in the back with his police revolver.
Ralph Andrew James, 24, of 4053 N. 6th Street in Philadelphia, was charged with assault wth intent to murder and jailed in lieu of $100,000 bond in Upper Marlboro.
The victim, Howard Warren Hall, 27, of 1792 Addison Road South in District Heights, was reported in fair but stable condition in Prince George's General Hospital.
According to police, James and his brother, Lawrence, were visiting the apartment of a friend in the 4700 block of Homer Avenue in Suitland when Hall and Lawrence James began arguing about a woman. Claiming that Hall had assaulted his brother, James allegedly pulled his police revolver and fired two shots. Both of them struck Hall in the back, police said.
James and his brother then fled the building by car, and were stopped by police half an hour later at 10:45 p.m. in Lanham, police said.
James has been suspended from his position as a patrolman on the Philadelphia Housing Authority police force pending an investigation of the incident, according to James N. Reaves, director of the force. Reaves noted that James was apparently violating police force policy in taking his .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver out of the city of Philadelphia.
The housing authority police officers operate in much the same way as security guards. They have full police powers only on the property of Philadelphia's housing projects, and are not under the authority of the regular Philadelphia police department.