Man Identified in Capitol Hill Shooting Has Long Criminal History

Posted July 16, 2009 at 10:01am

Updated: 4:21 p.m.

The man shot and killed by Capitol Police on Wednesday, Kellen Anthony White, had a long history of arrests, according to an online search of Maryland court records.

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police Department released White’s name, almost a full day after the incident.

White, 27, from Brandywine, Md., led police on a car chase near the Capitol shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, hitting two parked cars and then shooting at officers about a block from the Capitol grounds. Officers shot back, and White later died at the hospital.

An online search of Maryland’s court records shows a long list of arrests for White dating back to 2004, including possession of marijuana, intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest.

The only active cases relate to traffic charges, such as “unsafe lane changing— and failure to properly fasten the license plate.

It appears that White also attended the University of Massachusetts and, according to the university’s athletics Web site, was once a football player on the school’s team.

According to his profile on the university site, White went to high school at Valley Forge Military Academy, played defensive back and was team captain there during his senior year.

The Web site noted that White’s older brother is former University of Massachusetts All-American cornerback Jerard White.

On Thursday, the wall of Jerard White’s Facebook page was filled with notes of condolence.

Earlier Thursday, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer had called the suspect, whose name had not yet been publicly released, a “run-of-the-mill dangerous criminal— who has no ties to terrorism.

“I do know that the defender has a criminal record involving weapons use and drug use,— he said, later adding, “There is no nexus at this moment that we know to any terrorism. This was a criminal matter that happened to be near the Capitol.—

MPD spokeswoman Traci Hughes said the name of the man was not released initially because his next-of-kin had not yet been notified. Such a procedure is not unusual, she said.

Wednesday’s shooting drama began after Capitol Police officers initiated a “routine traffic stop— at the 100 block of Massachusetts Avenue Northeast, according to Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider.

The suspect — now known to be White — immediately began to flee the officers in the car he was driving, a white Mercedes with temporary Virginia tags.

At Columbus Circle, in front of Union Station, Schneider said, the suspect “nearly ran over— another Capitol Police officer who had stepped out of his car to make a traffic stop for another vehicle. That officer sustained minor injuries, she said, and was not taken to the hospital.

White then headed the wrong way down Louisiana Avenue Northwest with police vehicles in pursuit and nearly hit a second officer who was on his motorcycle near New Jersey Avenue and C Street Northwest. That officer also sustained only minor injuries, Schneider said.

White then crashed into a parked car and a marked Capitol Police cruiser in the 200 block of New Jersey Avenue Northwest, about a block from the Capitol grounds, she said.

He then crawled out his driver’s side window, Gainer said, while firing his gun. On Thursday, Gainer said that he later glimpsed the gun from a distance and it appeared to be an Uzi-like weapon.

Police officers verbally commanded him to drop his weapon.

“The subject disregarded repeated demands by police officers to put down the weapon that the suspect had,— Schneider said in a press release Wednesday night. “He began shooting a weapon at several U.S. Capitol Police officers. U.S. Capitol Police returned fire, hitting the suspect.—

Gainer said the officers involved in the shooting tried to revive White until he was taken to the hospital, where he died. None of the officers were shot in the incident.

Meanwhile, those inside the Capitol were unclear about what was happening just a block away. Some staffers expressed outrage that they first learned of the shooting on the TV news.

In an e-mail Wednesday night, Gainer said he acknowledged the concerns and conceded that his office needs to “improve information flow.—

But in the first 20-30 minutes of the incident, he wrote, “it was more important to us to ensure your safety than to tell you that you were safe.—

“As to learning facts from the television, the media is not encumbered by the tactics and operational imperatives involving a real police incident and investigation,— he said. “I don’t fault them. However, I feel it’s necessary to first protect life, gather some facts and then tell you what you need to know.—