A Prince George's County police officer fatally shot a man suspected of assaulting a jogger and an elderly woman in Lanham yesterday after the suspect attacked the officer and pinned her on the front hood of her patrol car, authorities said.
Police said the unidentified man punched the officer repeatedly in the face and bit her nose as they struggled in the middle of the street about 12:15 p.m. in the 8700 block of Nightingale Drive. In self-defense, the officer drew her 9mm Beretta service weapon and fired once, striking the suspect in the groin, police officials said.
Even after he was shot, the suspect, described as about 6-foot-1 and weighing 250 pounds, continued to resist strenuously and could not be subdued until two other officers arrived on the scene, authorities said. He was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
Police officials declined to identify the officer but said she is a 17-year veteran of the force assigned to the Bureau of Patrol. She was treated for cuts and bruises to her face and released. She was placed on routine administrative leave after the shooting, police said.
Prince George's police spokesman Royce Holloway said the shooting was justified. "Clearly, it was not excessive force," he said. "This officer feared for her life."
Police said the officer was responding to a 911 call from an elderly woman who reported that a man had assaulted her and a female jogger in the vicinity of Nightingale Drive and Cipriano Road, about a half-mile south of the Goddard Space Flight Center.
The man, who was dressed only in shorts, attacked the jogger in the street and chased her when she tried to seek help at the elderly woman's house, police said. When the older woman came to the door, police said, the suspect forced his way into the house and began to assault her, as well.
Both women managed to escape the assailant, and neither was seriously injured, police said.
When the police officer arrived a few minutes later and parked across the street, the suspect ran over and attacked her as she tried to get out of her patrol car, police said. He then pinned her on her back on top of the cruiser and was trying to take her gun when she shot him, police said.
Holloway said police didn't have a motive for the attacks and described the suspect's behavior as "bizarre. . . . We don't know why he was doing this." Several people in the neighborhood had reported seeing the man run across their back yards before the incident, Holloway said.
The suspect was the third person in Prince George's County in five weeks to die after struggling with police.
On April 26, a 29-year-old carjacking suspect identified as Charles Ivy Huddleston Jr. suffered a fatal heart attack as he was shackled to a stretcher in a hospital emergency room, shortly after he had been chased and arrested by police near Andrews Air Force Base. Hospital officials said the man was resisting violently and had to be restrained by several medical personnel.
On Sunday, Robert Fulton Silver Jr., 35, also suffered a fatal heart attack as he was being taken into police custody.
Police said Silver, who had a history of mental illness, used karate-style kicks to attack the side of a passenger van as it pulled into the parking lot of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton. Police said it took five officers to restrain Silver, who suddenly went limp and stopped breathing just as he was handcuffed.
Prince George's police said they are still investigating both deaths.