A D.C. police officer yesterday shot and killed a man who allegedly lunged toward the officer clutching a broken beer bottle he had been using to cut himself.
The man was believed to be about 30 but carried no identification. He had not been identified by police late yesterday.
Officer Michael Harvey, 37, who has been on the force for 14 years, was placed on administrative leave with pay, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman.
The killing was the fourth by D.C. police this year, Gentile said. Last year, 12 people were killed by D.C. officers. The incident will be reviewed by the police department's Force Investigation Team, and the findings will be presented to the U.S. attorney's office for review, police said.
"We are in the very early stages of this," said D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who went to the scene yesterday. "There are a lot of details we want to sort out."
Police said the incident began about 11:30 a.m., when Harvey responded to a call from a resident reporting that a man was cutting himself in the 2600 block of 13th Street NW, behind Cardozo High School.
When Harvey arrived, the man stood on the sidewalk holding a broken beer bottle and bleeding, police said.
Harvey told the man to drop the bottle, but the man refused and walked into the street toward Harvey, Ramsey said. The officer fired at the man twice, wounding him, police said. The man walked closer, and when he was about 10 feet from Harvey, he lunged at the officer, who fired twice more, police said.
The man was pronounced dead a short time later at Howard University Hospital, Ramsey said.
D.C. police follow national training guidelines, which advise officers to stay 21 feet from a suspect wielding a knife or other object, because to be closer endangers officers' safety.
Residents said the man wasn't a regular in the neighborhood, which is populated by families and has several community centers and shopping strips.
Two women came out of their homes, holding babies, when they heard the shots. Students from the high school gathered at the scene. "It's scary because I was going to come back this way to pick up some work for school, but for some reason I decided to wait," said Derek Curtis, 16, a Cardozo junior.
Ramsey changed the department's procedures for investigating shootings this year, after an eight-month investigation by The Washington Post of excessive police force and the death in January of a Northwest Washington man shot by police who said he lunged at them with a knife.
Ramsey launched a massive retraining effort for the whole department and developed a system that reviews every incident in which an officer fires a gun. A "shooting team" is dispatched to oversee and coordinate criminal investigations and determine whether the officer should be disciplined.
Staff writer Allan Lengel contributed to this report.
CAPTION: Police investigate the fatal shooting by an officer in the 2600 block of 13th Street NW. The dead man was about 30.