Police Chief: Maryland Officer ‘Deliberately' Shot, Killed Fellow Officer; Sources: Shooting Was Case of Mistaken Identity

There was no indication the officer who fired the fatal shot had any "malice" toward Officer Jacai Colson, police chief says

The undercover Prince George's County narcotics detective killed Sunday after a gunman opened fire was "deliberately" shot by a fellow officer during crossfire, Police Chief Hank Stawinski announced Wednesday.

Sources close to the investigation told News4 the officer fired the fatal shot in a case of mistaken identity, confusing Officer 1st Class Jacai Colson, 28, for a suspect.

The police chief declined to characterize the shooting but said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon there was no indication the officer who shot Colson harbored any "malice" toward him.

Colson was dressed in plainclothes and had exited an unmarked police car when he tried to take down the shooter, police said.

Michael Ford, 22, opened fire on officers in Palmer Park, Maryland, about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, sparking return fire from several police officers. Colson, 28, was shot by a fellow officer and died.

"The shot that struck and killed Detective Colson was deliberately aimed at him by another police officer," Stawinski said.

Police officers are receiving counseling, Stawinski said.

Ford is facing 25 counts, including attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, in the shootout that turned fatal for Colson

Ford, who is being held without bail, fired on the District III station to draw officers' attention and hoped to die in a "suicide by cop," police said.

Ford's brother Malik, 21, drove him to the police station, police said. His brother Elijah, 18, recorded Ford's will, in which he mapped out the shooting, officials said. The firefight also was recorded.

Elijah and Malik Ford appeared in court Wednesday via video and were held without bond.

The father of the three brothers, Michael Thomas, spoke in their defense in the courtroom. 

"My son [Michael] is excellent. I never thought I'd be standing in front of you pleading for his life," he said. "I've lost three sons in one shot."

Malik Ford passed out during the court appearance, causing a break in the proceedings. 

A sister of the young men told News4 Elijah Ford is a good person who needs to return to Bowie High School. She spoke about why the 18-year-old filmed the video of the shootout.

"Elijah was in awe by what happened," she said. "She knew no one would believe him."

Charging documents reveal new information about the chain of events leading up to Colson's death.

The District III station was first shot at about 4:25 p.m., prosecutors said in the documents. Two rounds shattered the glass front door of the station. Michael Ford then fired at passing cars and a police cruiser with two officers inside, prosecutors said. He then fired at one officer walking near the door of the police station and four other officers in a nearby parking lot, according to the documents.

Colson arrived on the scene by car and exchanged gunfire with the shooter. He then was shot by a fellow officer.

Colson was rushed to Prince George's County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Michael Ford was arrested and taken to a hospital. He was found with a handgun, police said.

As News4 previously reported, Ford's brothers told police they had discussed with Michael Ford his plan to "attack the police and engage the police in a 'shootout,'" prosecutors said.

During the shootout, officers asked Ford's brothers if they knew where Ford was, prosecutors said. Police said he had hidden behind a police van. Malik Ford said he did not know, but on video shot by one of his brothers, the suspect can clearly be seen hiding behind the van.

The brothers face numerous charges, including attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. A court commissioner rejected second-degree murder charges against Malik and Elijah Ford on Tuesday, but Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said she believes there is probable cause to file second-degree murder charges against them and that those charges can be presented by prosecutors to a grand jury.

Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Tuesday he couldn't explain the "frightening" actions of the shooter or his brothers.

"It doesn't make any sense,'' Stawinski said.

Elijah and Malik Ford are due back in court April 13. Michael Ford was still in a hospital as of Wednesday evening.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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