COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Upon closer review, it appears two shoplifting suspects shot by a Prince George's County police officer weren't men, as originally reported, or cross-dressers, as was later reported, but transgender women.
An off-duty police officer working security in the Rugged Wear House clothing store at the College Park shopping center in the 7300 block of Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) near the University of Maryland chased two shoplifting out of the store at about 5:30 p.m. Friday, police said.
During the officer's pursuit, his arm became entangled in a window of the suspects' vehicle. The suspect behind the wheel began to drive off with the officer dragging, which is when he fired several shots from his service weapon, striking both suspects, police said.
Renee Bailey says she and her friend Kelly Bright may have shoplifted from the store, but that they didn't drag the officer.
"We did not drag him...if we dragged him, how was he able to shoot?" said Bailey.
Bailey paints a much different picture of the incident. "He said don't make me shoot ya'll...as the car was rolling back he was running with the car and he shot several times." She said Bright, who was driving, was backing up to park the car and speak with the officer.
When an off-duty officer is working at an establishment, the officer has full power as a police officer, a police spokeswoman said.
Both the suspects and the officer were taken to the hospital. Bailey was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. Bright was last listed in critical condition. The officer was treated for minor injuries resulting from the dragging.
Route 1 was blocked in the area while police investigated. A special police unit will continue to investigate what is known as a departmental shooting.
The shopping center is very close to the University of Maryland, and Friday night is a busy time. The sidewalks are usually crowded, particularly with college students.
"It did not have to go this far," said Bailey. "Now my friend is in the hospital, we don't know if her life could be taken."