A man who was shot and wounded in an altercation with a Prince George's County police officer outside New Carrollton Mall has a history of mental illness, his family said yesterday.
Police said an officer, whose name they declined to release, approached Bruce Asmoro Scott, 37, in the mall parking lot about 5:35 p.m. Wednesday to question him about an armed robbery that had occurred nearby. In response, police said, Scott threatened the officer by waving two knives, one in each hand.
The officer fired his gun twice in self-defense, striking Scott in the left hand and left shoulder, police said.
Scott was taken to Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham, where he was treated. He was charged yesterday with first-degree assault and openly carrying a dangerous weapon and was being held in lieu of $25,000 bond in the Prince George's County jail, police said. The officer was uninjured.
Scott's schizophrenia was diagnosed several years ago, but he stopped taking medicine prescribed to treat the disease about a month ago, said his brother, Darryl Scott of Greenbelt. His behavior had become unpredictable in recent weeks but hadn't shown any signs of violence, Darryl Scott said.
"He liked to cook all night and wash clothes all night, but he wasn't a threat to anybody," he said. "He would never try to cause anybody harm."
Police said the shooting was under investigation and that the patrol officer was placed on routine administrative leave with pay. They said Scott was not a suspect in the armed robbery.
In May, another man with a history of mental illness died of a heart attack shortly after he was arrested by Prince George's police.
In that case, police said five officers spent 20 minutes struggling with Robert Fulton Silver, 35, after he kicked a van filled with people in a church parking lot in Clinton. Silver stopped breathing after he was subdued and was pronounced dead a few minutes later, police said.
Roscoe Swann, president of the county chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, said yesterday that county police have agreed to provide more training for officers on how to deal with mentally ill people, especially in dangerous situations.