Just before midnight, cabdriver Daryoosh Saeedi heard a popping noise as he drove a customer through downtown Silver Spring. Moments later, he saw the Montgomery County police cruiser with its lights flashing and the officer lying on his back, his neck covered in blood.
"Officer down," Saeedi recalled shouting into Kyle Olinger's police radio, setting off a massive manhunt in August 2003 that netted three suspects: Terrence Green, 18, Fadi Kadamani, 21, and Daniel Biddy, 18.
Saeedi's recounting of that night's events opened the testimony yesterday in the trial of Green, a Mount Rainier man charged with attempted first-degree murder in the shooting that left Olinger's legs paralyzed.
Prosecutors say the shooting, during a traffic stop, was premeditated.
"The evidence will show that this man had enough time to change his mind before pulling the trigger of the gun that shot Kyle Olinger," State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler said in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Green "made a decision to reach down . . . to pull Kyle Olinger's hands in, to knock his gun away, to point the gun and to shoot it at [Olinger's] neck."
Green's attorneys, Rene Sandler and Stephen Mercer, indicated that they will not necessarily dispute that Green was the triggerman but will contend that the evidence does not support a conviction for first-degree attempted murder.
"This case is not a case of who shot Kyle Olinger," Sandler said in her opening statement. "This was a highly charged, sudden, very, very quickly unfolding situation which brought about a reaction and unintended results."
The maximum penalty for attempted first-degree murder is life in prison. Green is also charged with first-degree assault and use of a firearm in a crime of violence. Kadamani is charged with attempted first-degree murder but has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Biddy is not charged with any crime.
Olinger, 38, uses a wheelchair but is able to drive himself to work. He returned this spring as a detective in the special investigations division, said police spokesman Derek Baliles.
Olinger was on routine patrol in downtown Silver Spring the night of Aug. 12, 2003, when he spotted a Chrysler New Yorker parked on Spring Avenue. Biddy was sitting in the car alone, according to testimony yesterday.
Olinger stopped his car and approached Biddy. After telling Biddy not to drive because he had no license, the officer left the scene.
Meanwhile, Green and Kadamani returned to the Chrysler on foot from a nearby building where they had hoped to buy marijuana, Kadamani testified yesterday. They got in the car, with Kadamani driving. Olinger spotted the car again and followed it.
Kadamani said he made a U-turn, with Olinger behind the car. Olinger pulled the car over.
Olinger approached the Chrysler and asked Kadamani to step out after he saw that he had no driver's license. Kadamani got out and moved toward the back of the car, where Olinger asked him to put his hands on the trunk of the car, Kadamani testified.
Olinger then approached the car's passenger side, where Green was sitting, Kadamani said. Olinger saw a handgun at Green's feet, police have said. Olinger ordered all three men to put their hands in the air. Olinger drew his gun and pointed it at Green, Gansler said yesterday.
Green reached for his gun with one hand, police and prosecutors say. With his other hand, he pulled Olinger's arm into the car. Green then pulled the trigger, police and prosecutors say, sending Olinger to the ground.