A special police officer working for a housing complex on Friday morning fired shots near the Columbia Heights Metro station as he pursued a 17-year-old who allegedly attempted to rob a woman at gunpoint , District police said
District police spokesman Gwendolyn Crump said no one was injured in the incident , which occurred around 9 :30 a.m. near the intersection of 14th and Irving Streets. She said the juvenile, who reportedly reached into his jacket before the officer fired, was charged with armed robbery and carrying a pistol without a license.
Crump said the series of events began when a man with a gun tried to rob a woman in the 1300-block of Harvard St. NW. The two struggled, and the suspect fled toward 14th Street. Crump said a witness alerted two special police officers working in the area.
The special police officers ordered the suspect to stop, Crump said. She said the suspect reportedly reached into his jacket, and one of the officers fired.
The suspect was arrested a short distance away by the two special police officers and an off-duty District officer, police said. Police said a weapon was found at the scene.
Special police officers are private security workers who are armed, licensed, and have arrest powers. They may be hired by apartment complexes, universities and other entities. Crump said the two special police officers worked at a housing complex.
Crump said the department’s security officers management branch is investigating.
The incident disrupted rush hour traffic along 14th Street and near the Columbia Heights Metro station. When the chase occurred, commuters near the intersection of 14th and Irving Streets scrambled to clear a path as the security personnel, one with a gun drawn, ran after a man near the south west corner of the intersection. Seconds later, the man dropped to his knees near the middle of the intersection.
[This post has been updated.]
As the incident unfolded, bystanders took to social networking site Twitter to describe the surroundings. Prince of Petworth blogger Dan Silverman collected this tweet:
RT @JackieMarks I was there right after. 5+ cop cars, bike cops & they had a kid (16 y.o.?) in custody & frisking. Air smelled of gunpowder.