A Maryland police officer just shy of his 29th birthday is dead after a gunman opened fire outside a police station in the Landover suburb in an “unprovoked” afternoon attack.
Jacai Colson, a four-year veteran of the Prince George’s County police department, “immediately stepped into action,” when the gunman opened fire around 4:30 p.m. at the District 3 Station, according to Henry P. Stawinski III, the chief of the county Police Department, who spoke at a news conference Sunday evening.
Colson returned fire, but was killed in the exchange.
“This man launched an attack on a police station and engaged several Prince George’s County police officers in a gunfight to which they responded heroically,” Stawinski said at a news conference on Sunday night outside Prince George’s Hospital Center.
Two suspects, one of whom was shot during the shootout and is recovering in the hospital, were taken into custody. The wounded suspect is believed to be the gunman, the New York Times reports. The second suspect was apprehended at a nearby Popeye’s restaurant and taken into custody for questioning.
John Teletchea, the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, told reporters that Officer Colson was “a real cop’s cop” who had been “a very close friend.”
“Jacai had an infectious smile,” he said. “He lit up a room. He was a tremendous personality that made everybody smile and wanted to be everything to everybody.”
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said in a statement on Facebook that flags in the state would fly at half-staff in honor of Officer Colson. “It is my hope that his proud legacy of commitment and passion for law enforcement and serving others will provide some comfort in the difficult days that lie ahead,” the governor said.