Md. officer fatally hit during traffic stop | MassCops

Md. officer fatally hit during traffic stop

Discussion in 'Line of Duty Death News' started by kwflatbed, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member

    By Aaron C. Davis and Hohmann
    The Washington Post

    PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — A Prince George's County police officer was killed today when he was struck by a vehicle driven by suspected car thieves in Laurel, three law enforcement officials said.
    Police Chief Melvin C. High was en route to Laurel Regional Hospital and a news conference was expected this afternoon. The officer's wife was also at the hospital, having been flown in by helicopter from their home in Carroll County.
    A massive search was underway at an apartment complex several blocks from where the incident occurred, in the 14700 block of Laurel-Bowie Road. Residents of the complex, Laurel Square Apartments, said police were conducting a door-to-door search.
    The officer was not publicly identified. One of the sources said the officer had been a volunteer firefighter in Beltsville for 20 years.
    Police spokeswoman Sharon Taylor said the officer had spotted a suspected stolen car and was monitoring the vehicle when two men returned to the car and apparently rammed the officer.
    Cpl. Stephen Pacheco, another police spokesman, said the officer was dragged by the suspects' vehicle. "We believe a round was discharged," said Pacheco, who said it was unclear whether it had been fired by an officer or one of the suspects.
    Mark Brady, spokesman for the county Fire and Emergency Services, said the officer was in critical condition when he was transported to the hospital shortly after the 11:45 a.m. incident.
    Pacheco said shortly before 3 p.m. that "a few" persons of interests were being questioned but no arrests had been made; Taylor said officers had arrested one suspect.
    Residents of the Laurel Square complex said dozens of heavily armed officers began storming the garden-style apartments before noon.
    "They were running around and drawing guns. All of a sudden I felt swarmed with policemen," said Dianne Shields, 46, speaking by phone from inside the police barricade. "They won't let me leave, I tried four times, they told us to go in the house."
    Some residents were told to stay in their homes, while others were escorted outside the police line and told it could be hours before they would be allowed to return. At 3 p.m., police still manned roadblocks at all three entrances to the apartments and officers reportedly were searching trunks and residences inside the complex.
    The officer is the first to be killed in the county since 2005, when Cpl. Steven Gaughan was fatally shot when he pursued a suspect into a Laurel area apartment complex following a routine traffic stop.

    [​IMG]Wire Service

    Maryland Officer Fatally Hit During Traffic Stop

    Two suspects captured


    Courtesy of WJLA-TV

    After a massive manhunt, investigators have taken two men into custody who police say ran down a Prince George's County officer.

    LAUREL, Md. -- Investigators have taken two men into custody after a massive manhunt in Laurel for two men who police say ran down a Prince George's County police officer Friday morning.
    Multiple law enforcement agencies surrounded the Laurel-area neighborhood, sending in K-9 officers and SWAT teams to search for the men.
    Hovering overhead, NewsChopper 7 spotted as many as 50 police cruisers on the scene.
    According to Prince George's County police, the injured officer was watching a stolen car. He saw two men get into the vehicle. Suspecting he had been spotted, police say the officer got out of his vehicle.
    The officer was struck by the stolen car in the 14700 block of Laurel-Bowie Road in Laurel and critically injured. Police believe he drew his weapon and may have fired a shot.
    Prince George's County Fire and EMS spokesman Mark Brady confirms that one person was transported by helicopter to a trauma center. It was unclear if the patient was a civilian or police officer, as was the extent of the patient's injuries.


    P.G. Police Officer Slain; Four Persons of Interest Questioned

    Posted: 1 Hour, 9 Minutes Ago LAUREL, Md. - Prince George's County police confirm an officer was killed in the line of duty Friday morning in Laurel during an altercation with two men suspected of driving a stolen car.
    » full story » video » your comments

    Courtesy of WJLA-TV
  2. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member

    Man accused Of killing Md. officer dies

    By Aaron C. Davis, James Hohmann and Jerry Markon, Washington Post Staff Writers

    A 19-year-old man accused of running down a Prince George's County police officer died yesterday in custody, less than 36 hours after he was charged in connection with the slaying.
    Ronnie L. White was pronounced dead at Prince George's Hospital Center about an hour after he was found sitting on the floor of his cell beside his bunk, unresponsive and with no detectable pulse, officials at the county jail said.
    White, of the 9100 block of Tumbleweed Run in the Laurel area of Howard County, had been charged with first-degree murder in Friday's death of Cpl. Richard S. Findley, 39. Two men in a pickup police believe was stolen hit Findley as they fled an apartment complex in Laurel. Police say White was the driver. Findley suffered massive head trauma and died a short time later.
    Col. Gregory O. Harris, deputy director of operations for the county's Corrections Department, said he could not rule out the possibility that White committed suicide, but he stressed that there were no visible signs of trauma on him. He also said White had passed a medical and psychological evaluation when he entered the Upper Marlboro jail early Saturday and at that time "showed no signs of suicide or depression at all."
    Ten members of White's family who gathered in the hospital's parking lot yesterday evening were visibly angry and said they were suspicious of authorities' explanations. Angela White, Ronnie White's mother, declined to comment, saying she wanted to consult a lawyer first.
    White was being held in a maximum security cell, where he was not allowed to have cloth or ropelike material and was checked every 30 minutes, Harris said. He added that White was last checked 15 minutes before he was found unresponsive. An officer saw him sitting on his bed, awake and alert, at 10:15 a.m., Harris said, and at 10:30 a.m., White was discovered on the floor by an officer bringing him lunch.
    An official at Prince George's Hospital Center confirmed that there was no sign of trauma on White's body or any visible cause of death. The person, who was not authorized to release information, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
    Vernon Herron, director of public safety for Prince George's, ordered county police to immediately begin investigating White's death. County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey also began looking into it.
    White's body was taken to a medical examiner's office in Baltimore yesterday afternoon, the hospital official said. Harris said an autopsy will be performed.
    White's death follows a series of problems for the county's correctional center. This year, a corrections officer was arrested on suspicion of supplying cellphones to inmates; another was charged with armed robbery and assault; several inmates turned up with handcuff keys; and a detainee was injured when he was attacked by seven gang members in a holding area. The director of corrections was fired June 4 after four handguns were found to be missing from the jail armory.
    Corrections officers told the Prince George's County Council in January that the jail is increasingly violent and so crowded it can't be fully locked down. Union officials said that officers are ill-equipped and undertrained and that the facility is badly in need of renovation.
    White was booked into the jail at 12:42 a.m. Saturday, about 12 hours after he was apprehended during a search involving dozens of officers.
    Harris said that normally, White would have been moved to a jail outside Prince George's because his alleged crime involved county law enforcement officers. But because White was arrested late on a weekend night, when most administrative staff members are not working, the county didn't follow that standard protocol, Harris said.
    Mark Brady, a spokesman for the county's Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said the department received a call at 10:38 a.m. yesterday from the Department of Corrections. The call indicated that CPR was in progress on an approximately 20-year-old male, and paramedics and an ambulance from the Upper Marlboro station were dispatched. Brady said the paramedics took over lifesaving efforts, continuing CPR while they took the man to a hospital.
    Harris also said that to his knowledge White had not complained of his treatment by police or corrections staff since being arrested Saturday morning.
    On Friday, Findley and other officers from an elite squad had been attempting to box in two suspects in a blue Chevy Silverado when White rammed Findley's cruiser, according to the charges. When Findley got out of his cruiser, White hit him and dragged him on the front and side of the truck while hitting other vehicles and an iron fence, police said.
    Maj. Dwayne Preston, commander of the 6th Police District, where Findley was assigned, said the officer's family, which has not spoken publicly since the incident, was told of White's death yesterday afternoon. Findley was married and had two young daughters.
    "I don't know if it's justice or not," Preston said of White's death. He and three other high-ranking police officials said they had been told that White had committed suicide but had no information to corroborate that. "We're really more focused on laying Corporal Findley to rest," Preston said.
    James Penn, a chaplain with Good News Jail and Prison Ministries who works at the Prince George's jail, said he called White's mother, Angela White, and was the first to inform her of her son's death. "She was stunned, didn't know how to take it," Penn said. "She just kept asking where he was, where the body was."
    Online, White's friends began flocking to a memorial page created on MySpace. Several of the friends also had MySpace links to the Laurel area gang known as Curupt Mindz.
    Preston confirmed that White was believed to be connected to Curupt Mindz. He said the gang is a known problem in the Laurel area. Two alleged members of the gang are awaiting trial on robbery charges, Preston said, and members are suspected in carjackings and other robberies in shopping centers near where Findley was hit.
    A police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because three other people detained during Friday's search are still under investigation, said members of Curupt Mindz are also known drug dealers. He said that drugs were found in an apartment but that detectives were still trying to determine whether the drugs belonged to the suspects. An electronic log of radio communications from Friday's search showed that an officer reported finding four pounds of marijuana and an assault rifle in an apartment.
    Court records show that in 2006 White was charged with first-degree assault and armed robbery; the case was dropped. Last year, he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and, in a separate case, to drug possession. On Nov. 28, he was sentenced to more than six months in prison. It was unclear when he was released.

    [​IMG]Wire Service
  3. Inspector

    Inspector Subscribing Member

    UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — The death of a 19-year-old found slumped in his cell a day after he was jailed on charges of running over and killing a police officer has been ruled a homicide, authorities said.
    The Maryland Medical Examiner ruled Monday that Ronnie White's death in Prince George's County Correctional Center the previous day was from asphyxiation and strangulation.
    Maryland State Police and the FBI are investigating the death. The FBI is focusing on possible civil rights violations.
    Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson said at a news conference Monday, "If we have vigilante justice, our society will fall apart."
    Officials said seven guards had access to White at the time of his death, as did an unspecified number of supervisors. Authorities are also investigating whether anyone from the outside had access to the inmate.
    Johnson said that he believes the death was "unrelated to any act by the Prince George's County Police Department."
    Curtis Knowles, president of the corrections officers' union, said he was working that day but not in the unit. Officers involved in monitoring the inmate told Knowles that they came to feed White, tapped on the window and yelled through a slot in the door, but White didn't reply. They went in and shook White, but he didn't respond, Knowles said.
    Knowles also cautioned that the investigation needs to take its course before any conclusions are reached.
    "We're not going to speculate. We're going to depend on the FBI and the state police," Knowles said.
    June White-Dillard, head of the Prince George's branch of the NAACP, said that she was pleased the FBI was investigating the case but disturbed by the nature of the death of the inmate.
    "No one should have had access to him that could have caused him harm," she said.
    White was found on the floor of his cell at the Prince George's County jail at 10:30 a.m. Sunday with no pulse, according to officials. Jail medical staff who treated him reported no visible signs of trauma on his body, and he was declared dead an hour later at a hospital.
    White had been held by himself in maximum security since he arrived at the jail around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
    He was charged with first-degree murder in the death Friday of 39-year-old Prince George's County Cpl. Richard Findley during a traffic stop in Laurel. Findley, who was part of a team investigating car thefts, was killed after he got out of his cruiser and was dragged by a truck, which had been reported stolen. Authorities said White was driving the truck.
    Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey said Monday that his office would review the circumstances of White's death.

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