Off-duty Pentagon Police officer shoots, kills 2 he thought were breaking into car

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 5:34 AM EDT
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TAKOMA PARK, Md. (WJLA) - A Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police officer is on administrative leave after he allegedly fatally shot two people, who he believed were breaking into a car, in the pre-dawn hours.

The shooting happened around 5 a.m. Wednesday at the Takoma Overlook Condominiums in Takoma Park, Maryland, about seven miles from Washington, D.C. Police say an off-duty officer with the Pentagon Police “advised he observed what he thought was a car being broken into.”

Police say the officer engaged the two suspects, who didn’t listen to his directions. They tried to take off in a vehicle, and he allegedly opened fire with his service weapon.

The suspects showed up at a nearby hospital shortly after, where they both died.

Community activists with the Silver Spring Justice Coalition are calling for Takoma Park Police to release all body camera footage and dispatch calls following the deadly incident.

“This was a wrongful shooting,” activist Seth Grimes said. “This is not someone who has been trained to handle interactions with community members. But this case illustrates why we need transparency [and] use of force rules governing police officers.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense shared protocols for off-duty Pentagon officers, saying “exercise of any law enforcement authority while off-duty is generally limited to a serious breach of the peace… including assault and threats to kill, injure or maim.”

“Firearms may be discharged at moving vehicles when an employee has a reasonable basis to believe that the vehicle poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to the employee or others,” the DOD also said.

The Pentagon officer involved has been placed on administrative leave.

Takoma Police are actively investigating the incident in consultation with the Montgomery County State Attorney’s Office.

Copyright 2021 WJLA via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.