A man with a BB gun was fatally shot by a Metropolitan Police officer Monday morning following an altercation in Northeast Washington, D.C., authorities confirmed in a press conference.
The shooting occurred at approximately 2:05 a.m. around 53rd Street and Clay Terrace NE, a notoriously violent area of the city. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said Monday the suspect was fatally shot during a struggle involving a BB gun resembling a semi-automatic weapon.
“During this struggle, the suspect failed to comply with the officer’s commands and produced a firearm,” read the MPD statement. “The officer then discharged his service weapon. The suspect’s weapon was recovered on the scene, which was later determined to be a BB gun.”
Chief of Police Cathy Lanier held a press conference Monday afternoon saying the suspect ran when the officer approached him after observing suspicious activity. In the ensuing chase, the suspect fell and dropped the semi-automatic BB gun. Lanier stated the officer, a member of the police force for two years, discharged his weapon after ordering the man to drop the gun.
Lanier identified the officer as a white male and the suspect as a black male, however they have yet to positively identify the suspect or determine his age. The name of the officer was not released and Police Spokesman Dustin Sternbeck confirmed the MPD is currently conducting an internal investigation, reports The Washington Post.
The area around Clay Terrace is no stranger to violent confrontations. In 2015, MPD officers fired on people in three separate instances, two of which involved knife attacks and the third an armed robbery. MPD officials say it is an area known for a high prevalence of the drug PCP, reports The Washington City Paper.
“This is an area that has police presence 24 hours a day,” Lanier said in the press conference.
A report released by the D.C. auditor Jan. 28 reviewing MPD use of force found that excessive force among D.C. police officers was very low and shootings have dropped dramatically over the last decade. Shooting incidents peaked in 2007 with 31, but have steadily dropped over the years, with 15 shootings in 2015.
The MPD said they will release further information of the incident as their investigation into the shooting continues.
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