Two people were killed early Wednesday morning by an off-duty Pentagon Force Protection Agency police officer who thought he saw the pair stealing a car, according to Maryland police.
Officers from the Takoma Park Police Department responded to multiple reports of shots fired in the parking lot of the Takoma Overlook Condominiums on New Hampshire Avenue shortly after 5 a.m., according to the department. When they arrived, an off-duty Pentagon officer approached them and stated that he had witnessed “what he thought was a car being broken into.”
“He engaged the suspects who failed to follow his direction,” according to the statement. “When the suspects tried to flee in a vehicle, the officer discharged his service weapon.”
According to the statement, the suspects, who both had gunshot wounds, drove themselves to Prince George’s Hospital, where they died.
The Takoma Park police statement provided no additional information about the incident. A spokesman for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said he couldn’t comment on the case or identify the officer involved, and referred The Daily Beast to the Takoma Park Police Department.
The two people who were shot have been identified, according to Cathy Plevy, a spokesperson for the City of Takoma Park, who told The Daily Beast in an email that their names will not be released until next of kin have been notified.
Plevy told The Washington Post that there were at least three people in the parking lot and that “there is evidence to support the officer’s statement” about the alleged car theft—but she didn’t go into detail.
A former Takoma Overlook condo resident, whose parents still live in the building, told The Daily Beast that there have been “a lot of car thefts in that lot over the last five, six years, multiple issues, and they have spent thousands of dollars on security—putting up lights, and all these things.” So that’s something that’s been going on in that lot for a long, long time.”
“I was there when one of them happened,” he went on. “They used to go there and steal car rims. I went out maybe four years ago and there were eight cars up on wooden planks.”
The Takoma Park Police Department and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office are both investigating the shooting.
According to police, an off-duty Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer shot and wounded a minor who allegedly attempted to rob him on a Washington, D.C. street last month.