Plainclothes cop mistakenly shot to death in chaotic ambush outside police station

The plainclothes Maryland police officer who died in a chaotic shootout at a Maryland police station was deliberately shot by a fellow officer who did not recognize him and viewed him as an armed threat, a police chief said Wednesday.

Police Chief Hank Stawinski was careful not to speculate about the state of mind of the unidentified officer who fired on Officer Jacai Colson on Sunday afternoon outside a police station in Landover, but he said it was clear that the officer feared for his life.

‘I don’t believe for a second that our officer intentionally fired at another police officer,’ Stawinski said.

Three brothers who live near the suburban Washington police station have been charged in the gunfight, which police have described as an attempt by the suicidal oldest brother, 22-year-old Michael Ford, to provoke officers into killing him.

Investigators say evidence shows 22-year-old Michael Ford (left) opened fire on Colson. He and his brothers, 18-year-old Elijiah (center) and 21-year-old Malik (right) face multiple charges in Colson's death

According to police, Ford was driven to the station by his two younger brothers and began firing at the building and at passing vehicles, causing officers to return fire.

Ford fired more than 20 shots, prosecutors said in court on Wednesday.

Police said Ford’s brothers aided him before and during the shootout and used their cellphones to record video of the gunfight.

They also recorded video of Michael Ford offering a ‘last will and testament’, police said.

A judge denied bail on Wednesday afternoon for Ford’s brothers, 21-year-old Malik Ford and 18-year-old Elijah Ford, in a dramatic hearing that included emotional pleas on their behalf by their father and several other relatives.

While listening to his relatives, Malik Ford, who appeared in court via closed-circuit television, collapsed and fell to the floor.

Some of his family members wept as he was treated by medical personnel, and the hearing resumed a few minutes later, with Ford seated in a chair.

The relatives tried to distance Malik and Elijah from Michael’s actions, saying they were not armed and their involvement was minimal.

‘He didn’t pull the trigger,’ their father, Michael Thomas, said of Elijah. ‘My son is excellent. He’s a great person.’

After bail was denied for Elijah Ford, his sister, Ebony Howard, blurted out to Judge Robert Heffron, ‘Do you all have any incriminating evidence against him?’

Heffron informed her that it was the state that gathers evidence against defendants.

Thomas said his sons had strong character and mostly stayed out of trouble.

Elijah, a high school senior, has no criminal history, while Malik has been charged twice with petty theft. The charges were dropped in both cases, court records show.

The eldest Ford brother’s criminal record lists more than a dozen charges, including possession of drug paraphernalia, theft, trespassing and public urination.

‘I’ve lost three kids in one shot,’ Thomas said.

The police union leader, John Teletchea, was livid that the suspects would coldly watch and record what he said their own cellphone evidence shows was an unprovoked and premeditated attack.

Colson, Teletchea said earlier this week, ‘reacted to protect his fellow police officers and his community. And while doing so we had individuals videotaping, as if it’s a game, as if it’s something we’re going to put on YouTube and glorify’.

A relative of the Fords, who did not identify herself in court, said ‘Elijah was not seeking YouTube celebrity’, arguing instead that he recorded video of the shooting because he was concerned no one would believe what had happened.

The relatives declined to comment after the hearing. They were represented by a public defender, Kevin Valdez, who declined to comment or to identify who had spoken.

Colson, a 28-year-old narcotics detective, was wearing street clothes and responded to the shooting from a different location than the other officers, according to charging documents.

Colson was black. Police have not revealed the race of the other officers involved in the shootout.

Prince George's County police chief Hank Stawinski comforts the parents of police officer Jacai Colson, James and Sheila Colson during a news conference at Prince George's County Police HQ on Monday

State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said her office would investigate every aspect of the shooting, including whether race was a factor.

Michael Ford faces more than two dozen charges, including second-degree murder. Malik and Elijah face charges including attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Alsobrooks has said the brothers, who were not armed, could also be charged under Maryland’s felony murder law, which applies to people who participate in a felony that results in a homicide.

Earlier this week, the Fords’ aunt, Shanelle Ramos-Rogers, told the New York Daily News that Michael Ford had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

‘We are sorry for everything and all the grief we caused in this officer’s life,’ she said. ‘We are truly shameful for everything going on.’

Speaking to The Post, Ramos said her sister, Lisa, who is the Ford siblings’ mother, suffered a heart attack when police burst into her home after the shooting. She was taken to the same hospital as her wounded son.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan earlier this week ordered flags lowered to half-staff in honor of the slain four-year veteran of the Prince George’s Police Department.

‘The First Lady and I send our sincere prayers to the family and loved ones of Officer Colson, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his fellow citizens and community,’ Hogan said in a statement late on Sunday.

Colson, an undercover narcotics officer, would have turned 29 years old this week.

Sheriff’s deputy Dominick Chambers, a friend from the police academy, said they celebrated their four-year anniversary as officers on March 12, the day before Colson was killed.

‘He always wanted to be a police officer,’ Chambers said. ‘Everyone is taking it real bad, real bad. I’m talking to my classmates, checking in on them. We’re not doing well.

Source: The DailyMail

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