A Prince George's County police officer was killed in what police are calling an "unprovoked attack" outside police headquarters in the Palmer Park area of Landover, Maryland.
Police have identified the fallen officer as 28-year-old Jacai Colson, a four-year veteran of the Prince George's County Police Department. Colson was a narcotics officer and would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week.
"It is my sad duty to come to the community this evening and to tell you that one of your defenders, Jacai Colson... lost his life in defense of this county today," Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said in a news conference Sunday night.
Stawinski said Colson was killed in an "unprovoked attack" on the District III police station at about 4:30 p.m. when one man started firing a gun at officers.
"It wasn't about anything. This man launched an attack on a police station and engaged several Prince George's County police officers in a gun fight, to which they responded -- heroically."
The suspect was arrested at a Popeyes fast food restaurant nearby.
A second suspect was arrested a short time later. One suspect was wounded and taken to the hospital. Police could not confirm if the suspect was shot by an officer and said he is stable and is expected to survive.
Confirmed. From Pgpd: Officer shot, possible active shooter(s) outside District III station Stay inside. Avoid area pic.twitter.com/lXX0R7bJCr— Darcy Spencer (@darcyspencer) March 13, 2016
Police do not believe there are any more suspects.
Colson was transported to Prince George's Hospital Center in the back of a police cruiser and later pronounced dead.
"This is truly a dark day in Prince George's County. An unwarranted, unprovoked attack on our officers at a police station," said John Teletchea, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89 president. "We would ask for the community's prayers at this time...and we would ask for God to bless Prince George's County so we never see a day like this again."
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered the flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Colson. He released the following statement:
"I am shocked and saddened by the news this evening of the death of Prince George's County police officer Jacai Colson in the line of duty. Our administration is committed to assisting Prince George's County officials during this time, and the Maryland State Police are working closely with local law enforcement to provide support as needed. The First Lady and I send our sincere prayers to the family and loved ones of Officer Colson, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his fellow citizens and community. It is my hope that his proud legacy of commitment and passion for law enforcement and serving others will provide some comfort in the difficult days that lie ahead."
County officials expressed similar sentiments at the police news conference the night of the shooting.
"The thing that we have to do as a county, as a government and as a society, is to do our best to make sure this never happens again," Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker said.
The county state's attorney, Angela Alsobrooks, called the shooting an act of "evil" and "cowardice."
"This is a crime against this entire community and we will treat it as such," Alsobrooks said. "His life was precious."
The District III police station is next to Prince George's County police headquarters on Barlowe Road, police said.
Several roads were closed in the area to allow for police response and investigation.
Police had called this an "active shooter" situation earlier in the evening and had encouraged residents to shelter in place and avoid the area. That shelter in place order has been lifted.
Colson was from Upper Chichester, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, NBC10 reports.
Two weeks ago in Prince William County in Virginia, 28-year-old Officer Ashley Guindon was shot and killed on her first day on the job. Two other officers were also shot. They were responding to a domestic dispute at a home in Woodbridge.