A jury has convicted a man accused of opening fire on a Maryland police station in a videotaped attack before an undercover narcotics detective was mistakenly shot and killed.
The jury Friday found Michael Ford guilty of second-degree murder in the March 2016 shooting death of Prince George's County police detective Jacai Colson. A prosecutor said even though Ford didn't fire the fatal shot, he created a "combat zone'' outside the station and caused Colson's death.
In all, Ford was found guilty of 31 charges and found not guilty in 13 other charges, including all attempted murder charges.
He faces up to 30 years in prison for the murder of Colson and up to 25 years for each assault charge.
Deliberations began Friday, a day after attorneys for both sides presented closing arguments.
Ford, the only defense witness at his trial, testified Wednesday that he was trying to get himself killed when he attacked the station in Landover, and never intended to harm anybody.
Ford said he never saw Colson before a fellow officer mistakenly shot the plainclothes narcotics detective. But authorities say Ford exchanged gunfire with Colson before Officer Taylor Krauss shot his colleague.
Ford fired as many as 23 shots outside the police station but didn't hit anybody during the videotaped ambush.
"I shot low," he said. "I wasn't trying to shoot nobody."
Ford was charged with second-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and other offenses. Prosecutors argued he was legally responsible for Colson's death even though he didn't fire the fatal shot because he started the deadly shootout.
His attorney, Antoini Jones, asked him why he opened fire on the police station.
"Because I wanted to die," Ford said. "And I knew the police kill black men with no problem."
Ford is black, and so was Colson. Krauss, who is white, was not charged in Colson's death.
Prince George's County
News4's Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports.
Krauss testified earlier this week that he never saw Colson hold up a badge or heard him identify himself as a police officer before shooting him once in the chest.
Ford, then 22, claimed he didn't know his two younger brothers were recording cellphone videos of the ambush after dropping him off at the station outside D.C.
One of the videos shows Ford screaming obscenities and shouting, "Do something!" in between shots.
A judge ruled before trial that Ford couldn't present an insanity defense despite his serious mental-health issues.
Ford said he was hearing voices in his head after he woke up on the morning of the shooting. He said he retrieved a gun from a safe in his car and held it to his head.
"I couldn't pull the trigger," he said.
After meeting his brothers at his mother's home, Ford dictated his last will and testament minutes before they dropped him off at the station.
A detective testified in 2016 that Ford's brothers agreed to film the shooting so the video could be sent to WorldStarHipHop.com, a website known for posting users' violent videos.
"I had nothing to do with that," Ford said during a prosecutor's cross-examination.
Ford's brothers, Malik and Elijah, pleaded guilty to related charges and await sentencing hearings.
Colson's parents sued Krauss and Prince George's County, accusing Krauss of recklessly firing his rifle that day.
Ford shot out the police station's glass door before firing at and "barely" missing officers who responded, according to a police report. Ford also fired his .40-caliber handgun at passing vehicles, including an ambulance that was hit by his gunfire, the report said.
Colson was a four-year veteran of the department and 28-year-old native of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania.
Ford said he never had any problems with police officers in Prince George's County before the shooting. He said he respected police.
"When I was homeless, they would buy me food all the time," he said.