- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2005

Prince George’s County police say they think the men responsible for carjacking an off-duty officer in Clinton on Saturday are also responsible for two other carjackings over the weekend — including an incident Sunday during which gunfire was exchanged.

Police said three men approached a woman Sunday afternoon as she was getting out of her vehicle in the 6800 block of Randolph Street in Landover Hills. One man had a handgun and demanded her car keys.

Police said that the woman’s boyfriend intervened and that shots were exchanged before the assailants fled. The boyfriend was shot, but the injury was not considered life-threatening.

Lt. Steven Yuen, a Prince George’s County police spokesman, declined to provide any further details about the exchange of gunfire.

The men are considered armed and dangerous.

Lt. Yuen said the four-door, silver Nissan Altima that the men were driving was recovered yesterday in the District in the 3700 block of Langston Place SE.

A day earlier, an off-duty officer was carjacked as he got out of his personal vehicle at the intersection of Old Alexander Ferry Road and Highland Meadows Drive in Clinton at about 6:20 p.m.

The officer was approached by three men, one of whom was armed. The men, who did not appear to know their victim was a police officer, demanded the officer’s keys. One man frisked the officer, came across his service weapon and stole it.

The weapon has not been recovered.

“It’s a unique challenge because officers have to weigh the fact that if suspects identify them as officers that could escalate the violence versus being in compliance, knowing that many times all people want is the property,” Lt. Yuen said.

The officer’s car was equipped with a vehicle-tracking device and was recovered about an hour later in the District in the 1700 block of 40th Street SE.

The weekend carjackings brought the number of carjackings in the county this year to 305. There were 202 carjackings in the county at this time last year.

County officials say total crime in the county was down by 0.4 percent through June 12 compared with the same time last year. However, homicides and other violent crimes have increased dramatically.

The county soon will have more police officers than at any time in its history, with a class of 60 officers that will graduate in December and another class of 32 that will graduate in August. The department has been authorized by the county council to hire 200 officers during fiscal 2006.

Anyone with information about the carjackings is asked to call CrimeSolvers at 866/411-TIPS.

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