A retired D.C. police officer faces charges after fatally shooting a special police officer at a training session Thursday inside a public library in the Anacostia neighborhood, authorities say.
Special Police Officer Maurica Manyan, of Indian Head, Maryland, was the victim, the Metropolitan Police Department said in an update Friday. She was 25 and worked as a special police officer within the DC Public Library's public safety division.
Jesse Porter, 58, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, police said.
“I thought I had my training gun. Why did I do this? Is she ok?” witnesses told police that Porter asked.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Porter has a lawyer. He retired from MPD in 2020 as a lieutenant, an online profile says.
According to the initial investigation, Porter shot Manyan at the conclusion of a training exercise in a conference room of the Anacostia Neighborhood Library.
Witnesses told police that Porter, who had been hired to conduct the training, suddenly pulled a gun from his holster, pointed it at Manyan and pulled the trigger once.
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About five officers wanted a group picture taken at the end of the training, a court affidavit says. Manyan was the subject of some playful jokes about her hair and said she wanted to take off her mask. That’s when Porter pulled out his gun and fired, the document says.
Porter then said he thought he had his training gun, witnesses told police. Several people began CPR. First responders were called to the library at 1800 Good Hope Road SE shortly before 3:45 p.m.
As Porter was led out of the building, he turned to a library officer, the affidavit said.
“I’m sorry. I shot your officer,” he said.
Library patrons were cleared from the building. No one else was hurt.
Manyan was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She had been on the force for less than a year. Her family declined to speak.
Witnesses said Porter had a brightly colored training gun — a replica — in his holster until the time of the shooting. Camera footage in the room where the shooting occurred matched what witnesses said occurred, the affidavit said.
Chief of Police Robert Contee said Friday that it’s unclear why Porter pulled out the loaded gun.
“There are props and firearm lookalikes that are in a training environment. They were present in this environment. But why and what kind of was in his mind at this time, I don’t know the answer to that,” he said.
The retired lieutenant was conducting a training on how to use a police baton, Contee told reporters Thursday night.
“I don’t have answers as to why the live firearm was in ASP baton training,” Contee said, using the name of a company that makes batons.
Sources familiar with the investigation told News4 that when Porter drew a pistol to illustrate how quickly it could be done, he fired the shot.
Police said in a statement Friday morning: “The detectives’ investigation revealed a retired MPD Lieutenant was providing ASP Baton instruction, as a private contractor, for Library Special Police Officers. While in the conference room, the instructor discharged a single round from a firearm which struck the decedent. A firearm was recovered on scene.”
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Porter made an initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Friday and was released on his own recognizance.
Special police officers are certified by D.C. and contracted to guard properties. They can carry guns while on duty, the Metropolitan Police Department says.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.