Washington DC

3 DC officers shot while serving animal cruelty warrant; suspect surrenders after 13-hour barricade

The suspect continued to shoot at police from time to time on Hanna Place SE after opening fire on officers who were trying to serve a warrant for animal cruelty, forcing lockdowns at nearby schools

NBC Universal, Inc. A man surrendered to police after he barricaded himself in a home on Hanna Place SE and shot at officers trying to serve a warrant for animal cruelty, forcing lockdowns at nearby schools, authorities said. After his arrest, police found up to 30 dogs in the home. 

A gunman who shot three D.C. police officers outside a home in Southeast D.C. Wednesday morning surrendered after barricading inside the home for about 13 hours and continuing to fire shots, multiple police sources confirmed. The officers are expected to recover.

Police arrested 48-year-old Stephen Claude Rattigan and charged him with cruelty to animals. Charges for shooting the officers are pending. Police initially released a different name for the suspect but early Thursday said that Rattigan provided a fake name.

Up to 30 dogs were found in the home, requiring three Humane Rescue Alliance vans to transport them.

The officers were serving an arrest warrant for cruelty to animals when Rattigan opened fire at about 7:30 a.m., police said.

He continued to shoot at police from time to time hours after law enforcement shut down several city blocks, forcing multiple schools into lockdown.

A gunman remains barricaded in a Southeast D.C. home after three police officers were shot trying to execute an arrest warrant for animal cruelty. News4's Mark Segraves reports.

“This remains an active situation, and the individual has continued to fire from that location,” Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela Smith said at a midday news conference.

"We are asking everyone to please stay out of this location until we are able to apprehend the suspect," the police chief said.

Young children could be seen getting police escorts into their school on Valentine's Day.

Police communicated with the suspect by phone and described him as agitated at times and positive at others. Police confirmed the suspect is the person officers were trying to arrest.

According to court documents, the suspect's landlord was trying to evict him for failing to remove dogs from his home after a child was attacked by dogs last year.

Three D.C. police officers were shot and wounded early Wednesday and a shooter continued to fire gunshots from a home in Southeast D.C., police say. The officers are expected to recover.

Gunfire as officers tried to serve a warrant

Officers went to a home in the 5000 block of Hanna Place SE, near Benning Road and the Maryland border, at about 7:30 a.m. to execute an arrest warrant, police said.

Officers tried to make contact with the suspect, but he refused to exit the home, police said.

“As officers attempted to gain entry, the individual opened fire on them,” a statement from police said.

Shots were fired through the door, police said. Later, bullet holes could be seen in the door.

A doorbell camera from a home nearby captured the sound of a barrage of gunfire, with at least 25 shots fired. It wasn't immediately clear if more than one person opened fire.

The three officers who were shot are expected to survive, D.C. police said. One officer was shot in the hand. Another was shot in the foot or leg, Smith said. One officer was struck twice, but his ballistic gear stopped the bullets, D.C. Police Union Chairman Greggory Pemberton said.

A fourth officer was injured but was not shot, sources told News4.

A Humane Rescue Alliance employee was with police as they tried to serve the warrant and was not hurt, the group said. It's unclear if anyone else was injured.

Some officers were rushed to a hospital in police vehicles instead of ambulances, sources said. News4 saw several police cars outside MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where the four officers were being treated.

The officers are “in good spirits” and recovering from their injuries, Smith said Wednesday afternoon. She and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser visited them, Smith said.

A large black vehicle resembling an armored truck was seen driving into the cordoned-off area. Police asked members of the media to stay far from the scene.

The Humane Rescue Alliance conveyed their support for police.

“Our thoughts are with our partners at MPD who are being treated in the hospital and we are wishing them all the best in their recovery. We could not fulfill our mission without them. We are also concerned for the safety of the officers who remain on scene, the community members who continue to be affected, and the animals whom we were there to protect,” they said in a statement.

After three D.C. officers were shot and wounded on the job, News4’s Darcy Spencer spoke with community members.

Nearby schools locked down amid gunfire

Two nearby schools -- Garfield Elementary School on H Street SE and Plummer Elementary School on Texas Avenue SE -- were placed on lockdown, D.C. Public Schools officials said.

Officials in uniforms were seen shuttling children into a KIPP charter school near 46th Place and Benning Road SE. A swarm of police cars and emergency vehicles were seen near the doors to the school.

"This is a magnitude of police cars I've never seen in my life," one mother said.

“I’m outraged because my son goes right here to this school. I was coming to take him to school and wasn’t able to get through and I’m just like … I’m shocked. I’m really shocked,” another mother said.

KIPP DC LEAP Academy dismissed students early at 2 p.m. Buses were allowed in to pick up students as normal, the chief said. She directed parents who pick up their children to go to the 46th Street SE entrance. School administrators were to take care of any students who can’t be picked up early, she said.

Some residents returning home from work or school found they couldn't get to their homes. Some neighbors' homes were evacuated.

On Thursday morning, yellow police tape was still stretched across the block of Hanna Street.

Wednesday’s shooting of three D.C. police officers comes amid an ongoing discussion about violent crime in the District. Investigative Reporter Ted Oberg and the News4 I-Team looked into demands for something to be done.

DC police chief, police union head point fingers at DC Council

D.C.’s police chief and the head of the police union both called for action from the D.C. Council on crime.

The council gave initial approval last week to a comprehensive crime bill, known as Secure DC, that would increase penalties for gun crimes. For instance, firing a gun in public would be a felony.

“The penalties for folks that are just discharging firearms who do not have a right to do that is, is very challenging for us," Smith said. "So, I'm asking that we will certainly do everything we can to pass Secure DC, especially the portion of that bill where we need to increase the penalties for firearms."

Shooting at police officers is already a serious crime in DC and has been — the new law wouldn’t change that. But it would strengthen penalties for firing guns in public and possessing illegal guns.

The police union chairman called for more officers to be hired.

“We're short 500 police officers, which is why we can't send officers to these scenes to the proper number, to handle these situations, and it puts us all in danger, puts citizens in danger, puts police officers in danger,” Pemberton said. “This is an unfortunate and tragic example of what the city council thinks of police officers, and until the citizens rise up and tell city council to act normal and repeal some of these policies, I don't think we're going to see an end to this."

It wasn’t immediately clear, though, how legislative action might have prevented or affected the crime Wednesday.

Smith said a sufficient number of officers tried to serve the warrant Wednesday morning.

“We had enough officers effecting the arrest warrant today. There were no issues with that, as far as I was concerned, with regards to the number of officers that we send out for those,” she said.

The officers are assigned to the Criminal Apprehension Unit inside the Violence Crime Suppression Division. As of last month, 101 officers were assigned — down dozens from last year but a few more than 2022 at this time.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.

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