- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2016

Several brothers planned to make a video of one of them ambushing a police station and dying in the ensuing gunfight, but, according to police, the plan ended in a different death — a police officer in plain clothes killed by his own comrades’ friendly fire.

Police officials said Monday that the unprovoked gunman, identified as Michael Ford, started the Palmer Park confrontation that killed Prince George’s County Police Officer 1st Class Jacai Colson while brothers Elijah and Malik recorded away on their cellphones.

“That individual videotaped it as if it’s a game, as if it’s something we’re going to put on YouTube and glorify,” an angry John Teletchea, president of the Prince George’s County Fraternal Order of Police, said at a Monday news conference.

Officer Colson, who was off duty at the time, was mortally wounded by friendly fire while trying to distract the gunman as other officers advanced, officials said.

“Police officers run toward disorder. They run toward the sound of shots,” police Chief Henry Stawinski said during the news conference at police headquarters.

Chief Stawinski said Officer Colson, a 28-year-old undercover narcotics cop, pulled up to the station in the middle of the gunbattle wearing street clothes and drew shooter Michael Ford toward him so that six other officers on the scene could apprehend the gunman, who opened fire about 4:30 p.m. Sunday outside the District 3 police station.

That was when Officer Colson was hit by a bullet from one of the six officers. Chief Stawinski said it was not known which officer fired the fatal shot or whether anyone knew Officer Colson was a cop when he intervened. The chief did say officers wearing street clothes use subtle signals to let other officers know who they are, but that in the chaos of the gunfight, that might not have been possible.

Michael Ford was injured in the shootout and taken to Prince George’s Hospital Center, where his is in stable condition. He and his two brothers have been charged with 21 criminal counts, including second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Around 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Michael Ford, 22, of Landover, discussed the shooting with brothers Elijah, 18, of Landover, and Malik, 21, of Fort Washington.

Chief Stawinski said the whole incident could have been avoided if one of the two brothers had said something or called 911. “This was callously recorded and could have been prevented,” Chief Stawinski said.

Police said Michael Ford also shot at two cars and an ambulance that were passing by on Barlowe Road near the District 3 station.

At one point, Michael Ford had to reload his handgun and the volley of shots stopped. That was when Officer Colson pulled up.

Officer Colson, a four-year veteran on the force, demonstrated “extreme heroism” as he “drew fire to himself and in doing so was mortally wounded,” Chief Stawinski said. The fallen officer would have turned 29 this week.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also are aiding police, spokesmen for the two federal agencies said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered that flags be flown at half-staff throughout the state in the slain officer’s honor.

“The first lady and I send our sincere prayers to the family and loved ones of Officer Colson. … It is my hope that his proud legacy of commitment and passion for law enforcement and serving others will provide some comfort in the difficult days that lie ahead,” Mr. Hogan said in a statement.

County Council Chairman Derrick L. Davis said in a statement that the slaying is a tragedy for law enforcement and the community.

“Officer Colson bravely served Prince George’s County Police Department for four years. Every day, our police officers risk their lives to protect us. This is a truly sad day for our community,” Mr. Davis said.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said the killing of Officer Colson was a “horrific act of evil.”

“We have another mother tonight without her son,” Ms. Alsobrooks said. “Murder is a crime against our entire community. And that’s how we will treat it. We will turn to the law.”

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