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Maryland police officer dies after shooting; 2 in custody

Prince George’s County police stand guard Sunday after Jacai Colson, a veteran of the force, was killed. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
Prince George’s County police stand guard Sunday after Jacai Colson, a veteran of the force, was killed. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
Jessica Gresko Associated Press

CHEVERLY, Md. – Police were going about their business on a Sunday afternoon when a gunman fired at the first officer he saw outside a Maryland police station, prompting a gunbattle that left an undercover narcotics officer dying and the suspect wounded, authorities say.

Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski said Jacai Colson, a four-year veteran of the department only days shy of his 29th birthday, died after the “unprovoked attack” outside the station. The shooting erupted in Landover, a suburb about 10 miles northeast of downtown Washington, D.C.

Speaking at a news conference, Stawinski said that once the first shot was fired, several officers fired back at the suspect. He couldn’t say how many shots were exchanged in the confrontation that began about 4:30 p.m.

“Those officers did not shrink. They bravely advanced and engaged this individual,” the chief said.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks called the shooting an “act of cowardice” and a “horrific act of evil.” She promised an aggressive investigation and prosecution of the alleged shooter, who was wounded in the return fire but is expected to survive, and another suspect arrested soon after the shooting. Their names were not immediately released.

Stawinski said the second man was believed to have been present with the suspected shooter when the shots erupted, but fled and was later arrested. He gave no immediate indication what prompted the shooting.

Alan Doubleday, assistant chief of the Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Services Department, said earlier that a person who was shot was taken by ambulance from a community center near the police station to Prince George’s Hospital Center. That person appeared to be in stable condition, Doubleday said.

He said the officer was taken to the same hospital.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have begun assisting local police in the investigation, spokesmen for the two federal agencies said. They said the Prince George’s County Police remains the lead investigating agency.

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