Off-duty police officer injured in shooting in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON (AP) — A off-duty police officer in Washington, D.C., was injured Monday afternoon when a suspect opened fire as the officer was driving to work.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela Smith said the officer was on his way to the 4th District station just after noon when he “observed a vehicle driving very erratically” in front of him with two people inside on the 5800 block of 7th Street Northwest. The vehicle then “stopped very abruptly” and one man emerged and opened fire on the officer’s car, she said.

It remains unclear if the shooters knew the victim, who was not identified, was a police officer. The officer, an 18-year MPD veteran, was not in uniform and was driving his personal vehicle. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was able to drive himself to the 4th District station, where he was transported to a hospital. Smith could not confirm whether the officer was shot or injured by flying debris.

The officer was able to provide a partial license plate and description of the vehicle. Police tracked the car using a helicopter and pursued it over the Maryland border before it crashed in Landover, Maryland. Two men in the vehicle were arrested.

Police in the nation’s capital have struggled to contain violent crime, with murders and carjackings in particular spiking in 2023. But Smith and Mayor Muriel Bowser maintain that changes in law enforcement strategy and policy have produced results, with homicides down 26% and carjacking down 30% compared with the same time last year.

“We will not tolerate this kind of violence in our city,” Smith said. “We will use every resource … to make sure that no one gets away with this type of crime.”