To be a Prince George’s police officer was what Adrian Morris wanted to do from the time he was a teenager. Police officials say that Morris died doing the one thing he wanted most to do Aug. 20 when he lost his life in the line of duty.

An impromptu press conference attended by high ranking police officials, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, District 1 Councilwoman Mary Lehman, and Prince George’s County NAACP Chapter President Bob Ross was a somber moment in a brilliant summer day. Prince George’s Police Chief Mark Magaw said that the 23-year-old Morris was a company man who was doing the right thing when he was killed.

“He loved this department and what he did for a living,” Magaw said.

Police say that Morris and his partner, Michael Risher were investigating a report of an attempted theft at a Shell gas station in the 6600 block of Sandy Spring Rd in Laurel. While at the station, two suspects in a silver Acura with temporary license plates returned to the station where Morris and his partner had been tipped off.

According to police, the suspects tried to open the doors of another customer’s car before getting back into the silver Acura and leaving. Morris and Risher got into their patrol car and began pursuit.

As the pursuit moved to I-95 southbound, a police source told the AFRO that the two officers were giving a description of the fleeing Acura when Morris lost control of the car and veered off the highway into a nearby ditch. Morris was subsequently thrown from the vehicle.

Local law enforcement sources said police suspect Kenneth C. Mitchell of Southeast Washington was a passenger in the car being pursued. He was arrested Aug. 21 on a bench warrant for failing to appear at a D.C. Superior Court hearing on an unrelated charge.

Morris was taken to Prince George’s Hospital Center via helicopter where he was pronounced dead.

Morris had been an officer for two and half years according to Magaw. However, his dedication to the force began when he was 15 when he was a Police Explorer. The Jamaican-born, but Laurel-raised man had volunteered as an explorer in the District 6 headquarters. It is the same place where he served as an officer. Morris, a 2007 graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High, even became an advisor and mentor to police explorers after becoming an officer.

The scene at the hospital was somber, too, as an outpouring of support came not only from Prince George’s police officers, but also from Prince George’s Sheriff’s deputies, Maryland State troopers and even municipal police.

“You have to know that once a notification goes out like this with any officer being injured or being killed in the line of duty there’s going to be a mass outpouring of support for not only the family, but for one another,” said Vince Canales of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“What you’re seeing over there right now is actually the men and women from the police department as well as other agencies who are just coming out and paying respects to our fallen officer, paying respects to his family and also paying respects to the officer who survived and now has got to heal and deal with this”

Risher sustained non-life threatening injuries and has been released from the hospital. One suspect is in custody.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO