- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 14, 2002

Prince George's County Police Chief Gerald Wilson yesterday defended his officers' right to use force, but he said investigations into four police-involved shootings this week have yet to determine whether they were justified.
"I presume that our officers use the level of force that they are supposed to until and unless the facts surrounding the incident determines or reveals that we committed a criminal violation," Chief Wilson said, "Because that's what these are at this time criminal investigations."
There had only been one police-involved shooting in the county this year until there were four in three days this week, culminating with two Thursday.
Police said officers in Hyattsville Thursday tried to stop a Ford Explorer they believed was carrying drugs and weapons about 11 p.m. But the driver sped off, hitting a police car.
When the SUV got to the 2300 block of Amherst Avenue, officers approached it, but the driver hit the gas and ran into at least one of the officers. The officers then pulled their guns and opened fire, hitting a female passenger, who was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds. The woman has not been identified.
Earlier Thursday, an officer wounded a man in the shoulder about 2:30 p.m. in the 200 block of Queens Chapel Road in Hyattsville.
A police computer check of the car's tags showed the vehicle as stolen, and officers pulled it over. Chief Wilson could not say why the officer fired at the driver, identified as Mohammed S. Mohammed, 33, of Hyattsville. It was later learned the car had been reported stolen in October but returned to Mr. Mohammed soon after.
Mr. Mohammed was shot once in the right shoulder. He remains at Washington Hospital Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Chief Wilson said his department is "cooperating fully" with new Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey, who will decide if charges should be filed.
The chief said none of the officers involved in the shootings has spoken to investigators, though one has volunteered to do so through his attorney.
Each of the officers involved in the shootings has at least 12 years' experience on the force. All have been placed on administrative leave.
On Wednesday, a man was shot in Capitol Heights about 8 p.m. outside a house in the 1600 block of Nova Avenue. Police said an officer preparing to serve a search warrant "perceived a threat" from a man getting out of a car parked in the driveway.
The man, Desmond Eugene Ray, 22, of Forestville was shot once in the back and taken to Washington Hospital Center in critical condition.
Chief Wilson said he could not elaborate on the threat the officer perceived because the officer has not yet been interviewed. But police recovered a handgun and drugs from the car and arrested two persons inside the house on drug charges.
On Tuesday, Prince George's County police fatally shot a man they said was holding a knife to his mother's throat in the bathroom of their Landover Hills apartment.
The man, Eric Stewart, 31, was shot once after he said he would kill his mother and refused orders to drop the knife, according to police.
In May, a county officer wounded a carjacking suspect in Cheverly, the only officer-involved shooting in the county before this week. The suspect fired on officers while being pursued by a K-9 unit. The officers returned fire, hitting the man in the leg.
Last year, Prince George's officers shot seven persons, two of them fatally.

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