An off-duty police officer shot and killed a man who was pointing a gun Saturday night at the Wharf in Washington, D.C., authorities said.
Another person, described as a "witness" who appeared to be with the person fatally shot, also suffered a graze wound and was taken to a hospital, D.C. police said.
Two off-duty Metropolitan Police Department officers were at the Wharf "enjoying the evening" when they saw an armed person, D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said. The individual was pointing a gun on the pier just outside a restaurant in the 800 block of Wharf Street SW, Contee said. People began to take cover.
“People started reacting, started to really flee from the area,” Contee said. “Some people were going under the tables, and these officers went toward the danger where they saw the threat, where they saw the person with the firearm, and they took action.”
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
Police said in an update Sunday that the off-duty officers saw the suspect "brandish a firearm during a confrontation" about 9 p.m. The officers told him to drop the firearm, but he didn't, police said. One of the officers then shot the man.
D.C. police initially said the person was taken to a hospital with critical, life-threatening injuries. He later died.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
On Sunday, police identified the deceased man as 23-year-old Lazarus Wilson, of Dumfries, Virginia.
A semi-automatic weapon was recovered from the scene, Contee said. The suspect was also shown on a surveillance camera, police said Sunday.
"We're very lucky that no innocent residents or visitors to this area were injured," Contee said. "We have members of our Internal Affairs Bureau that's on the scene, and they will be leading the investigation."
A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said a bag Wilson had contained almost $30,000 in cash. According to a law enforcement source, investigators are looking into the possibility Wilson was there to buy drugs or watches and there was a dispute.
D.C. police officers are not required to be armed while off duty. They have a choice.
“I think it says that they care a lot about this city,” Contee said.
“And with the influx of guns in communities all across the country, the fact that we have police officers out enjoying a night to themselves at dinner, but yeah … forsaking the fact that they were there for themselves, decided to take action in a situation that could have been very dangerous and deadly for other visitors to that area, I think it says a lot about their character,” he said.
The MPD officer involved has been placed on administrative leave, according to policy. The officer was off-duty and did not have a body-worn camera.
Contee confirmed Tuesday the officer is a commander who recently was promoted to run the special operations division.
Body-worn camera footage from the responding officers and the security footage are currently under review as part of the ongoing investigation, police said.