Prosecutors will not file charges against a Fairfax County police officer who fatally shot a homeless man during an altercation at a shelter near Fort Belvoir in October, police announced Tuesday.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh cleared Officer Mohammed Oluwa, an 11-year veteran assigned to the Mount Vernon Police District, of any wrongdoing in the killing of 28-year-old James Bryant. The officer, who has been assigned administrative tasks since the shooting, will return to patrol duties, police said.
The incident began about 6 p.m. Oct. 30 when officers responded to a report of a fight at the Eleanor U. Kennedy Shelter, police said. A witness said Bryant, a resident of the shelter, was “fighting everyone.”
Linda Kay Washington, who lives at the shelter, said Bryant hit a woman in the back and hit others who tried to stop him. When the officers arrived, Bryant assaulted one and wrestled his baton away, police said. Bryant then began hitting the other officer, Oluwa, with the baton.
The officers tried to stop Bryant using nonlethal tactics, but he could not be stopped, police said. Oluwa fired on Bryant to stop the assault, and the officers aided the man until a rescue crew arrived.
“The man was shot in the chest, and the police were trying to stop his bleeding, but he was still fighting them,” Washington said.
Bryant died at a hospital. Three other people injured in the incident were taken to the hospital, and a fourth person was treated on the scene. Police have not given any indication of what sparked the fight.
Surveillance footage from a nearby convenience store showed Bryant smashing a 2-liter bottle of soda and swiping items off a counter earlier that day.
The Rev. Keary Kincannon, of Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church in Alexandria, said Bryant was a regular at the church’s soup kitchen. He described him as quiet, respectful and helpful around the kitchen.