Two people were shot dead by an off-duty Pentagon Force Protection Agency police officer who thought he saw the pair stealing a car early Wednesday morning, police in Maryland said in a statement.
Shortly after 5 a.m., 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, the department said. When they got there, the off-duty Pentagon officer approached them and said he’d seen “what he thought was a car being broken into.”
“He engaged the suspects who failed to follow his direction,” the statement said. “The suspects attempted to flee in a vehicle at which time the officer discharged his service weapon.”
The suspects, who both had gunshot wounds, drove themselves to Prince George’s Hospital, where they later died, the statement said.
The Takoma Park police statement offered no further details of the incident. A Pentagon Force Protection Agency spokesman said he could not comment on the case or identify the officer involved, and referred The Daily Beast to the Takoma Park PD.
Cathy Plevy, a spokesperson for the City of Takoma Park, told The Daily Beast in an email that the two people who were shot have been identified but their names won’t 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 did not elaborate.
A former resident of the Takoma Overlook condos, 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 past five, six years, multiple issues, and they have spent thousands of dollars on security—putting up lights, and doing all these things. So that’s been something that’s been going on in that lot for a very, very, very long time.”
“I was there when one of them occurred,” he continued. “They used to go there and steal the rims off cars. Maybe four years ago, I went out and like, eight cars were up on wooden planks.”
The shooting investigation is being handled jointly by the Takoma Park PD and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney's Office.
Last month, an off-duty Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer shot and wounded a minor who had allegedly tried to rob him on a Washington, D.C. street, police said.