Washington, DC police officer gunned down man sleeping in car: Chief

Washington, D.C. Police in just 24 hours recorded a second officer shooting, a bizarre traffic incident in which an officer shot and killed an armed suspect.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) responded to reports of an unconscious driver inside a black BMW at 3 a.m. Wednesday. Responding officers noted that the man had a gun in his waistband.

Police said officers deployed a ballistic shield and attempted to wake the man without startling him, but the incident escalated to the point that officers shot the man while he was trying to escape. The man collided with a tree, prompting police help and was taken to a local hospital.

DC Police Chief Robert Conti told reporters that emergency personnel pronounced the man dead at the hospital.

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Conti mourned the outcome of the encounter, particularly as it is the second officer-involved shooting in the area within a 24-hour period.

“It is unfortunate that we have to come face-to-face with armed people in our community,” Conti told reporters on Wednesday morning. “Obviously when people have guns, it makes communities unsafe, it makes police officers unsafe.”

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“It is unfortunate that someone lost his life,” Conti said. “I’m glad the police officer was not injured in this situation, but it’s not something we want to get into.”

Police later recovered the firearm from the scene, and Conti said the area would remain closed so that officers could perform a day’s canvassing of the area. Conti said the MPD has seized more than 1,400 illegal guns so far this year.

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There is little information available about the incident because the investigation is in its early stages, meaning Conti cannot comment or speculate on such factors as possible intoxication, he said.

Due to the position of the ballistic shield, body camera footage presented a restricted view of events. Conti noted that officers would use evidence such as video footage from the crime scene to piece together what happened.

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Conti said four or five officers were involved in the incident, but the investigation would focus on the officer who allegedly shot the suspect.

There is no information available about the firearm.

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