2 Dead in Lanham After Man Shoots at Officers, Steals Police Cruiser

A man apparently having a mental health crisis stole a police cruiser and struck his sister, who tried to help him, police say

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Two people are dead in Lanham, Maryland, after a man opened fire on police officers early Tuesday, stole a police cruiser, killed a family member who was trying to help him and then was shot by officers, police say.

The shootout in a residential neighborhood was sparked by an apparent mental health crisis, Prince George's County Police Department Interim Chief Hector Velez said. 

“Things like this are tragic. We have a family that has lost two family members, and they live in this neighborhood,” he said. 

The department says they responded to a call for a suicidal person, “possibly with a gun,” at about 1 a.m. in the 7700 block of Seans Terrace.

The man, Vusumuzi Kunene, 36, shot his sister, 45-year-old Wadiya Brown, police said. 

When officers arrived, they were met almost immediately by gunfire, police said.

Two people are dead in Lanham after a man opened fire on police officers early Tuesday, killed a family member who was trying to help him and then was shot by officers, police say. News4's Justin Finch reports.

“Our officers had not arrived at the scene, at that address, when they arrived in the area they came under fire,” Velez said.

One officer was still in their car when a bullet flew through the windshield. Officers returned fire and called for backup from New Carrollton officers.

After a Prince George's officer got out of his cruiser to take cover, Kunene fired his gun several times at the cruiser before getting in and driving up the street, police said.

He hit his sister as she was in the middle of the road suffering from a gunshot wound, police said. He then turned around and hit her again. Brown was killed.

Kunene fired multiple shots into a second Prince George's cruiser, then turned right on Fury Lane, police said. He drove at two Prince George's officers who fired at him. He sideswiped two New Carrolton police cruisers before hitting a third New Carrolton cruiser head on.

New Carrollton officers fired at him as he approached them in the stolen cruiser, and the officers were able to take Kunene into custody, police.

A man and woman have died after a police encounter early Tuesday in Lanham, Maryland. News4's Justin Finch has early info on what happened.

It wasn’t clear at what point Kunene was struck by officers' gunfire, the chief said. He was apprehended and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

A New Carrollton officer was hurt, taken to a hospital and believed to be OK, Velez said. 

Neighbor Agnes Newman said the sound of gunshots was followed by a woman screaming in the street.

“Heard screaming, and I saw a person laying in the street,” she said.

Crime scene investigators were expected to spend hours pouring over evidence spread out over at least two blocks.

The New Carrollton and Prince George’s police departments placed officers on administrative leave.

Velez advised residents to look out for each other and to not ignore signs of a potential mental health crisis. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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