A senior Prince George's County homeland security official who last month shot two unarmed furniture deliverymen opened fire without provocation after angrily ordering the men to leave his home, the surviving mover said in a statement provided last night to law enforcement authorities.
Keith A. Washington, who is also a county police officer, was combative almost from the moment the movers arrived at his Accokeek home, said Robert White, who worked for a contractor delivering for Marlo Furniture. "As we were leaving we reached the top of the steps, and the customer said, 'I know how to get you the [expletive] out of my house' and I heard gunshots," White said in the statement.
Later, White said, he listened as he lay bleeding while Washington falsely reported that the men he shot had attacked him with a pipe. "I remember sitting there on the ground thinking to myself, I can't believe this is how it is going to be," said White, 36, who dictated the statement from his hospital bed to his attorney. His co-worker, Brandon Clark, 22, died of his wounds Feb. 2 without giving a statement.
Washington has not spoken publicly since the shooting. A source familiar with the investigation has told The Post that, in a brief report filed immediately after the incident, Washington alleged that the movers were in a part of the house where they were not supposed to be. Police have said that Washington told them he acted in self-defense.
Washington, a former driver for County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), did not respond yesterday to a call seeking comment. A police union attorney, Steven E. Sunday, also did not return a call.
Police initially said they would probably charge the movers with assault but have since backed off that comment, saying they would make no determination until their investigation is complete.
White's attorney, Michael J. Winkelman, has not allowed police to interview his client, whose criminal record includes a burglary conviction, in part because of the possibility that police might try to build an assault case against White. In addition, Winkelman said he is concerned that White's providing a statement before Washington does so might allow Washington to fabricate a story that blames the movers in the shooting.
Police have declined to say whether Washington has given a complete statement in the investigation, but sources said yesterday that a subpoena compelling him to appear before a grand jury has been issued. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Winkelman said he and White decided to give State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey the signed three-page statement, which Winkelman also provided to The Post, because he worries that Washington, now on paid administrative leave, might be permitted to return to work. "We didn't feel we could wait any longer," Winkelman said.
Johnson has said Washington should not continue as deputy director of homeland security -- a job Johnson gave him two years ago -- but should return to the police department, where he is a corporal. The case has attracted wide attention in part because of a pattern of previous complaints against Washington, 45.
In the statement, White said he waited in the movers' truck Jan. 24 while Clark met Washington in his home. He said Clark, 22, returned and said, "Man, this guy is looking for a fight."
White said Clark then telephoned a supervisor. Officials have confirmed that such a call took place, and Clark's girlfriend has said the supervisor instructed the deliverymen to give Washington whatever he wanted.
Washington directed the movers to an upstairs bedroom, White said, where they set down the new bedrails. White said Washington pushed Clark, who was then on his knees, and crudely ordered him to leave the house.
White said Washington grew angrier when Clark asked him why he had not disassembled the other bed, parts of which were to be taken away by the movers. Washington shoved him again, White said, and answered: "Man, now you are going to tell me what to do in my house? Get the [expletive] out of my house."
White said he and Clark headed for the stairs. Clark, walking backward and holding up his hands "in the surrender position," told Washington he did not want to fight, White said.
Washington opened fire. Clark was struck first, White said. White laid his injured co-worker down and began to search for a cellphone. "I then heard a few more shots and realized I had been shot," White said.
When Washington stepped back into the bedroom, White said, he tried again to locate the phone.
"The customer must have seen me move because he shot me in the knee and said, 'I told you not to move,' " White said.
Washington, his gun still pointed at the two men, then telephoned someone he appeared to know, White said. " 'These two dudes just broke up in my house, and I shot both of them and they are here bleeding all over my carpet,' " White quoted Washington as saying. " 'They beat me up real good. . . . Yeah, they hit me with a pipe.' "
County police have said Washington was injured seriously enough to require treatment at a hospital but have declined to describe his injuries.
As they lay bleeding, White said, he and Clark pleaded with Washington, asking that he give them a phone or call for help. The first police officers to arrive appeared to believe the deliverymen were intruders, White wrote. One handcuffed Clark, White said, and the other told White, " 'Man, what are you doing in this house? You know you just broke into a cop's house?' "
It was only then, White said, that he realized Washington was a police officer. White said that the responding officer looked surprised when White said he and Clark were deliverymen and that the officer then ordered another officer to remove Clark's handcuffs.
Winkelman said White, who was shot in the chest, knee and abdomen, was readmitted to a hospital yesterday because of a possible infection.