- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2011

A Metropolitan Police Department officer accused of drunkenly opening fire on a car full of people that included transgenders will be held without bond as he awaits trial.

“It sounds like he’s a dangerous person,” said Jeffrey Light, an attorney with D.C. Trans Coalition. “I’m not convinced that just because he’s a police officer he’s not going to do it again.”

D.C. Superior Court Judge Ann O’Regan Keary on Friday ordered Officer Kenneth D. Furr held without bond. He faces one charge of assault with a dangerous weapon stemming from an Aug. 26 shooting that occurred while the officer was off duty.

During Officer Furr’s preliminary hearing, defense attorney Harold Martin questioned whether witness accounts were credible because several of the five people in the car admitted to drinking heavily or smoking marijuana earlier that evening. Officer Furr could have also been in fear of the individuals after he noticed their car tailing him less than an hour after he got into an altercation with one of the individuals, he said.

“This represents a threatening situation to any person who is alone at that hour in the morning,” Mr. Martin said.

Police officers responded to the site of the shooting, the 100 block of Pierce Street Northwest, around 5:20 a.m. after hearing a car crash and rapid-fire gunshots, MPD Detective James Freeman testified on Friday. Officer Furr, a 21-year-veteran of the police department, was standing on the hood of the victim’s car firing at the windshield when officers arrived on the scene, Detective Freeman said.

“The officers ordered him off the car at gunpoint,” he said.

On person was shot multiple times and taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said. Two others, whom transgender-rights groups have identified as transgender women, were also injured, though police were still investigating how they sustained their injuries.

The transgender community has been on high alert for violent incidents against transgenders after two shootings earlier this summer targeted transgender women and killed one.

“A pattern is emerging that this is a summer of violence against transgender people,” Mr. Light said.

Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said this incident does not appear to be related to the two prior shootings, which occurred blocks from each other in a Northeast neighborhood.

The carload of people began following Officer Furr after an incident an hour prior in which he got into a verbal altercation with one of them inside a nearby CVS store and pulled a handgun and threatened them, according to court documents filed in the case. The individuals involved reported the incident to an off-duty MPD police officer working security at the store and left the area. Upon discovering Officer Furr was an MPD officer, the security officer let him go, Detective Freeman said.

However the group had no idea Officer Furr was a law enforcement official at that time, and when they later saw him driving around they wanted to make sure he was stopped, said prosecutor Lara Worm.

“They believed something would be done,” she said. “It’s reasonable they would pursue him in an attempt to flag down a police officer.”

They followed him for about a half mile before the cars somehow collided and the shooting occurred.

Five shell casings from Officer Furr’s service weapon were recovered from the scene, police said. A breathalyzer test administered five hours after the incident registered Officer Furr’s alcohol level at .15, nearly twice the legal limit.

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