Gun Pointed at Police Officer Misfires

A man attempted to shoot a Maryland police officer Thursday afternoon, but his gun misfired, police said.

Two Prince George’s County Police officers stopped a car going 25 mph on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway for impeding traffic about 3 p.m. The front seat passenger, 21-year-old Joseph Chatman Clay, ran from the car and one of the officers chased him, police said.

When the officer was within a few feet, Clay turned slightly, pointed a gun at the officer under his arm and pulled the trigger, police said. The gun misfired, and Clay tossed it over a fence.

"Had he known what he was doing with the gun, it absolutely would have fired, and we potentially would have had another officer killed in the line of duty," Prince George's County Police Capt. Ken Humbel said.

A Prince George’s County Sheriff’s deputy providing backup helped the officer take Clay into custody.

"If somebody is firing at you, an officer can return fire, and he would have been justified," Humbel said.

Clay had an open warrant for attempted murder for an August shooting in Riverdale, police said.

The driver of the car is facing drug charges. Hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars worth of marijuana and MDMA were found in the car, police said.

"There are actually empty capsules there, which is a good indication that they were going to fill the capsules to make further drugs," Humbel said.

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