- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2011

A drunken off-duty Metropolitan Police Department officer fired shots at a group of people — some of whom were transgender — after a confrontation with them early Friday morning, police said.

One man was struck by three of the officer’s bullets and is hospitalized in critical condition, said Jason Terry, an organizer for DC Trans Coalition, which has been briefed by police on the incident. Two transgender women were also struck in the hand and arm and their injuries were not considered life-threatening, Mr. Terry said.

Police said Friday they were still investigating to determine the cause of the women’s injuries.

The incident occurred at First and Pierce streets in Northwest at about 5:25 a.m. Friday and stemmed from a confrontation between the officer, identified by a spokeswoman as Kenneth Furr, and a group of five people, police said.

The group may have had some sort of confrontation at a nearby CVS store about an hour and a half before the shooting, Mr. Terry said. Two cars carrying the group and Officer Furr collided, though it was unclear if that occurred before or after the officer opened fire.

Police said Officer Furr, a more than 20-year-veteran of the department, was charged with driving while intoxicated and assault with a dangerous weapon and is expected to be presented before the D.C. Superior Court on Saturday morning.

The shooting comes at a time when relations between MPD and the gay and transgender community in the District are already strained. Community leaders criticized the police department for the way it handles hate or bias-related crimes in June. In the time since, two transgender women have been shot, one fatally, along the same block in Northeast, and police took heat for failing to take a report from a group of lesbians who said they were assaulted while walking past the Columbia Heights Metro station.

“We have been calling for several years now for a real look on bias in the police force,” Mr. Terry said.

Transgender rights groups were organizing a rally for Friday night at the site of the shooting to bring attention to the incident and to call for an end to “transphobia in the police department,” he said.

• Matthew Cella can be reached at mcella@washingtontimes.com.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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