An Aug. 13 Metro article and an Aug. 18 follow-up article incorrectly reported that Montgomery County police said Officer Candice Marchone asked Peter Ayompeuh Njang to approach the officer's car in the minutes before Marchone shot and killed Njang. (Published 8/19/04)
A Montgomery County police officer shot and killed an Adelphi man yesterday after he failed to obey the officer's orders and lunged at her with a utility knife, police said.
Peter Ayompeuh Njang, 25, was shot once in the chest just before noon, police said. He was flown to Children's Hospital -- the nearest trauma center -- where he was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.
Njang, a citizen of Cameroon, was at a White Oak apartment complex to visit his sister, who lived there, said Capt. John Fitzgerald, a police spokesman. He was late for the meeting, and his sister had departed, Fitzgerald said.
Officer Candice Marchone, a member of the force for seven years, was on routine patrol in a marked car in the Villa Nova Apartments, in the 11400 block of Lockwood Drive, when she saw Njang lingering near the window of his sister's apartment, Fitzgerald said.
It was not clear yesterday if Njang ever told Marchone that he was outside his sister's apartment, police said.
Marchone stopped her patrol car, called for backup, got out and asked the man to come closer, Fitzgerald said.
The man pulled out a utility knife that was in his waistband behind his back, Fitzgerald said. Police said Marchone ordered the man to put down the utility knife, or box cutter.
"She gave him multiple verbal commands to put the knife down," Fitzgerald said.
Njang did not drop the utility knife and moved closer to Marchone, police said. Marchone ordered the man to stop. He lunged at her with the utility knife and was within an arm's length of Marchone when she fired one shot at 11:56 yesterday morning, police said.
Marchone administered first aid to the man and called for emergency medical help, police said.
Marchone, 31, was put on paid administrative leave as part of normal procedure following an officer-involved shooting, Fitzgerald said.
The Montgomery County state's attorney's office is investigating the death. Montgomery prosecutors sent two investigators to the scene yesterday, said State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler. The investigators will present evidence from the shooting to a grand jury, who will determine whether there is probable cause to charge Marchone with criminal wrongdoing, Gansler said.
The police department also routinely conducts an internal investigation, separate from the criminal investigation.
Njang is the third person to die this year after a confrontation with Montgomery police. On April 27, Eric Wolle, 45, died after police subdued him with an electric stun device near his Washington Grove home. An autopsy concluded that Wolle died of heart failure and that the Taser did not cause his death.
In June, a Montgomery grand jury cleared police of criminal wrongdoing in Wolle's death.
On May 11, Dale Francis Connolly, 51, shot himself in the head after police pulled him over in a rural area of Upper Montgomery County for suspected drunken driving.
Njang is the first person since 2000 to die after being shot by Montgomery police. On Nov. 16, 2000, detectives shot a man in a Bethesda high-rise who fired on the officers.
Neighbors in the Nova Villa apartments lingered near the scene of Njang's death yesterday. The cluster of three-story apartment buildings, near the White Oak shopping center on New Hampshire Avenue, is home to many recent African immigrants, neighbors said.
Clifford Dedzo, who lives near the apartment where Njang died yesterday, said he was troubled by the shooting.
"We have the police to protect the neighborhood, not take life away from the neighborhood," said Dedzo, 32. "I want to be able to communicate with them, not be afraid of them."