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Off-duty D.C. officer fires at man who tried to steal car with girl inside: police

The scene in Clinton on Friday after an off-duty D.C. police officer shot at a man who was trying to steal his car outside his home. (Matt Zapotosky/The Washington Post)

An off-duty D.C. police officer fired at a man Friday who police say drove at him after trying to steal a car with the officer’s daughter inside. It was unclear whether the man, who fled, was struck by the gunfire.

The incident began about 8:20 a.m. in front of the officer’s home in the 5000 block of Vienna Drive — a quiet neighborhood of mostly split-level residences in Clinton. Police said the officer’s 9-year-old daughter was in his black Toyota, which was running in the driveway, when he saw a man getting into the driver’s seat.

Julie Parker, a Prince George’s County police spokeswoman, said the officer yelled for the man to get out of the car. As the officer yelled, his daughter jumped out, Parker said.

Then, as the officer continued to yell, “Get out of the car! Get out of the car!” the man drove at him, Parker said. The officer fired his service weapon several times, she said.

Parker said the man turned the Toyota, drove through the yard and crashed into an SUV across the street. She said he got out of the Toyota and ran, possibly to a getaway vehicle.

Parker said police were looking for a champagne-colored Toyota Camry that was seen leaving the area.

Investigators also had called in tracking dogs to find the man, and they were checking whether a man who went to the emergency room at Prince George’s Hospital Center with a gunshot wound later Friday might be him.

The incident left neighbors shaken, wondering whether a brazen thief might still be in the area. Ade Tucker, 41, said that another neighbor was robbed late last year and that seeing yellow crime tape Friday was “a little unnerving.”

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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