The Virginia man who plowed through one of the District’s busiest nightlife districts Thursday night intentionally aimed his white pickup truck at police with the intent to kill and had made anti-police statements the day before, according to prosecutors and court records.
A judge ordered Brandon Figures-Mormon, 22, of Disputanta, Va., held without the possibility of release during his first appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Saturday after the alleged attack in Adams Morgan injured two police officers and a city worker.
Prosecutors said he advocated killing law enforcement, and in the past told someone “all police need to die.”
“He made an affirmative choice to run down the police officers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John B. Timmer said in court on Saturday.
Public defender Jacqueline Cadman said Figures-Morman was intoxicated during the collision and the government had no evidence that he meant to kill. He had smoked some concentrated marijuana at a club before the collision, charging documents state.
“What we don’t have is any intent on his part to hit these individuals,” said Cadman, who argued he should be released on his own recognizance. “There is absolutely no intent here.”
Figures-Mormon has been charged with assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless driving and other related charges in the incident that left two police officers hospitalized and one city worker injured. One of the police officers has since been released from the hospital, D.C. police said Saturday. The other remains in critical but stable condition.
Officers along the stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants along 18th Street near Belmont Road were directing traffic backed up behind a stopped Metrobus at around 9 p.m. on Thursday, with Figures-Mormon and a passenger among the line of cars in a Dodge Ram, police said. Figures-Morman then veered out of the queue, sped up the median and barreled toward two uniformed officers, according to police and court documents. Witnesses reported the truck struck the officers and continued on to hit a uniformed D.C. Department of Transportation employee, charging documents state.
“The witnesses also reported that the truck did not stop after hitting the third victim...and instead continued driving through a red stop light down the street until crashing into a sanitation truck.
Three officers on the city’s nightlife detail were hurt in the chaos. Officer Alen Bukvic was in critical but stable condition. He is expect to remain in the hospital for at least another week, according to court records. Officer Richard R. Duranne suffered a fractured nose, sprained right ankle and burns and was released from the hospital after one day. And City Transportation Department officer Pamela Ann Johnson was injured but treated at a hospital and released the same day.
After taking Figures-Mormon into custody, investigators found a military-style weapon they described as the Romanian version of the AK-47 in the truck’s backseat, police said.
Figures-Morman borrowed the Dodge Ram from a man who had been with him that day for a firearms expo in Chantilly, Va., court documents state. The owner of the truck said he placed the rifle under the back seat of the pickup because he couldn’t keep it in their hotel room.
Investigators said that about two and a half years ago, Figures-Morman “began making negative comments about police officers to the effect of “all police need to die” and advocating killing police officers on Snapchat as recently as Wednesday, charging documents state.
There’s no evidence Figures-Morman made any anti-police statements right before striking the officers and the sentiments he allegedly made more than two years ago, said Cadman, the defense lawyer.
Judge Kimberley Knowles said at Saturday’s court hearing that there was evidence — including Metrobus video and several witness statements — that Figures-Morman “directly aimed” at the officers and had ample opportunity to stop his car before hitting others but kept charging ahead.
“He is a danger to the community,” Knowles said before ordering him to appear in court again on June 20.
In 2014, Figures-Morman was convicted of assault, a count reduced from an initial charge of assaulting a police officer.
Figures-Morman was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 after a year of service. Military authorities said the “character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps’ expectations and standards.”