Crime and Courts

US marshal protecting Justice Sotomayor shoots teen after DC carjacking attempt

The marshals were parked in separate vehicles when an 18-year-old got out of a vehicle, approached a marshal and pointed a handgun at him “in an apparent attempt to carjack him,” D.C. police said

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A U.S. marshal on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s D.C. security detail shot and wounded an 18-year-old early Friday after the teen tried to carjack a marshal, authorities say.

D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and court documents gave an account of what happened at about 1:15 a.m. Friday in Northwest. The marshals were on Sotomayor's security detail, law enforcement sources told News4 on Tuesday.

Two marshals were parked in separate vehicles when Kentrell Flowers, 18, of Southeast, got out of a vehicle, approached a marshal and pointed a handgun at him “in an apparent attempt to carjack him,” police said in a statement. Flowers got out of a silver minivan and pointed the gun through the driver’s side window, a criminal complaint said.

The marshal drew his gun and fired several shots. A second marshal got out of another vehicle and also opened fire.

A marshal shot Flowers about four times, hitting him in the mouth, documents say. The marshal provided first aid, and the minivan took off.

Flowers was taken to a hospital with injuries that police described as non-life-threatening. The marshals were not hurt.

The marshal was in an unmarked vehicle but dressed in a U.S. Marshals shirt, documents say.

Sotomayor was not directly mentioned in court documents, and there is no indication she was the target of the attack.

The U.S. Marshals Service confirmed to NBC News that the marshals involved in the shooting were part of the unit protecting Supreme Court justices’ homes.

The suspect was charged with armed carjacking, carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a large-capacity ammunition-feeding device. Information on his lawyer did not immediately appear in online court records.

An MPD investigation is underway. Anyone with potentially relevant information is asked to contact police.

D.C. has seen a significant drop in carjackings, with a 46% decline this year so far, compared to the same period last year. U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves held a news conference Monday about how officials made progress.

D.C. saw a record high in carjackings in 2023. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) was the victim of an armed carjacking near his home in the Navy Yard neighborhood in October 2023. He said three people “came out of nowhere” and pointed guns at him. In November, a Secret Service agent protecting a granddaughter of President Joe Biden opened fire after three people tried to break into an unmarked Secret Service vehicle in Georgetown, an official said.

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

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