Off-Duty Capitol Cop Involved in Maryland Shooting

Posted July 16, 2009 at 8:18pm

Updated: 2:56 p.m. Friday An off-duty Capitol Police officer was involved Thursday night in a shooting in Prince George’s County, Md., that left three people injured.Local news station WRC-TV identified the officer as Eddie Thornton Jr. Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider refused to confirm the man’s identity because he was a victim and a witness.The incident began shortly after 7 p.m., when a Fort Myer U.S. Army police officer left his apartment and called 911 after getting into an argument with his roommate, according to Prince George’s County police spokesman Larry Johnson.The officer left his gun in the apartment, and his roommate apparently grabbed the weapon, followed the officer outside and “randomly started shooting,— Johnson said.At that point, the Capitol Police officer drove into the apartment’s parking lot in the 8500 block of Greenbelt Road near Lanham, Md. The officer and the suspect exchanged gunfire. Both were shot, while a stray bullet grazed a 12-year-old girl who was in a nearby apartment. The suspect is in serious condition, while the Capitol Police officer and the girl have “non-life-threatening— injuries.The Capitol Police announced Friday afternoon that the officer had been released from the hospital.It’s unclear why the Capitol Police officer was involved.“We’re not sure why he was there or if he was just riding past,— Johnson said.The county police department is taking the lead on the investigation.The shooting comes at the end of an unusually eventful week for the Capitol Police department. On Wednesday, officers were involved in a shoot-out near the Capitol with a man who fled a routine traffic stop. The suspect, Kellen Anthony White, began shooting at officers after crashing into two parked cars. Officers shot back, and White died shortly afterward at the hospital. That was the first on-duty shooting since Russell Weston Jr. barged into the Capitol and shot and killed Capitol Police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson in 1998.The last off-duty shooting was in July 2007, when an officer shot a man after observing a carjacking in progress, Schneider said.