Brothers Knew of Plan, Watched Shootout: Court Docs | NBC4 Washington

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Brothers Knew of Plan, Watched Shootout: Court Docs

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    Two brothers were charged with attempted murder Tuesday in connection with the ambush of an officer outside a Prince George's County Police station. A woman who witnessed the shooting describes the scene and what the alleged gunman said during the chaos. County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins has new developments from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. (Published Tuesday, March 15, 2016)

    On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, two brothers sat in a car in Prince George's County recording the "last will and testament" of their older brother, Michael Ford.

    Minutes later, Michael Ford, 22, launched an attack on a Prince George's County police station that resulted in the death of a young officer. 

    According to court documents, Malik Ford, 21, and Elijah Ford, 18, did nothing to stop him — despite having multiple opportunities to do so. Malik and Elijah Ford have been charged with 11 counts of attempted murder, three counts of first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the death of Officer Jacai Colson.

    A court commissioner rejected second-degree murder charges against Malik and Elijah Ford Tuesday, but Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said she believes there is probable cause to file second-degree murder charges and those charges can be presented by prosecutors to a grand jury.

    "We will file the charges that we believe are appropriate and present them to the grand jury and let them decide," Alsobrooks said.

    Charges have yet to be filed against Michael Ford. Alsobrooks said they are very early in their investigation and are being as thorough as possible.

    "There is a lot to review," she said. "This is an extremely important case."

    Authorities have determined Colson died as a result of friendly fire when a shootout ensued between Michael Ford and police.

    The documents say Michael Ford, told his brothers he wanted to attack the police. Elijah Ford recorded Michael Ford's "last will and testament'' just minutes before Malik Ford drove them to the District 3 police station Sunday.

    When Michael Ford walked toward the wrong building, the brothers directed him to the police station, according to the charging documents.

    Witness Jeannette Gray described seeing Michael Ford yelling outside the station for someone to go out and face him, Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reported.

    Malik and Elijah Ford then watched from the car, recording Michael Ford as he shot at officers outside the station. At one point, officers approached their car and asked where the shooter was. The two brothers said they didn't know, even though the video shows they had a clear view of Michael Ford hiding behind a police van, court documents state. 

    "They had every opportunity to call 911. They had every opportunity to seek medical help. They did nothing," Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Monday.

    Colson, an undercover narcotics officer, arrived at the station after the shooting began. He was wearing civilian clothes without body armor and leaped out of an unmarked car to respond. Police said he was fatally wounded by a bullet fired by one of his colleagues.

    Four other officers fired their weapons. It is not yet known who fired the bullet that killed Colson, Stawinski said.

    “Officer Colson was a wonderful officer from all accounts,” Alsobrooks said. “He showed up, he was brave, he was courageous, he was a defender. He put himself out as a person who was to protect us, and having someone intentionally kill a person who is designated by this community as a defender is something we take very seriously, and we will act accordingly. We will not do so with retribution and revenge. We don’t have to because we have the law.”

    Once Michael Ford had been shot, the two brothers drove away from the scene, police said. Michael Ford remains hospitalized.

    Hyacinth Tucker, 40, the owner of an event-planning business in Hyattsville, became Michael Ford's legal guardian when he was 16 after his mother kicked him out, she said. Tucker told The Associated Press that Ford, who was a high school friend of her son's, received Social Security disability payments because of his bipolar disorder.

    “It’s so early we don’t know yet where he got the gun, how he got the gun,” Alsobrooks said. “What we know is mental illness and guns don’t go together and that they create devastating results here and across the country. It’s an issue we’ve spoken about before, and to be honest, we’re almost tired of talking about is the relationship is so clear between the devastation guns do in the hands of mentally ill people.”

    Tucker said Ford's checks were sent to her house and that she helped him with doctor visits and other paperwork.

    “He's been through some tough times,” Tucker said. “There were some times he didn't eat” because he couldn't afford food, she said.

    Tucker said Ford had a difficult relationship with his mother, and she said Ford's two brothers were also forced to leave the family home when they were teenagers. She said she occasionally helped them out financially and that Elijah, who's a senior in high school, recently called her for help with some graduation-related expenses.

    The brothers are being held without bond. Both will appear in court for a preliminary hearing on April 11. It's not clear if they've hired attorneys.