By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
mgray@afro.com

Three Prince George’s County Police officers were “ambushed” and wounded during an incident in suburban Maryland in the early evening hours on August 23.

The officers were responding to a home invasion call in Hyattsville when they were reportedly attacked by gunfire around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.  Each of the officers was wearing a bulletproof vest which gave them a chance to provide themselves “self care” until first responders arrived.

According to interim police chief Hector Velez two of the three officers who were shot were “saved” by their vests. One of the officers was struck in the chest and suffered wounds to an arm and a leg. The other officer was shot in the back while the third officer suffered a wound to his foot. However, one officer did require surgery, but the injuries were considered  non-life-threatening,

(Screengrab from news video)

“Within seconds of arriving, they were under fire,” Prince George’s County Interim Police Chief Hector Velez told reporters at a news conference Sunday night. “They were ambushed.”

Police were responding to a call in the 1300 block of Capital View Terrace, according to the Prince George’s County Police report.  Velez said the officers were able to provide immediate aid to each other before they were transported and received medical attention at Prince George’s County Hospital Center.

Velez said one of the officers confronted two men who were walking toward a car. The men opened fire on the officer, who ducked behind a car door and was shot three times. He was struck in the lower right leg, chest and his right arm.

“The officer exited his vehicle and engaged those individuals in conversation. Immediately upon engaging conversation, those two individuals opened fire at our police officer,” Velez said.

After the attack the trio of alleged assailants reportedly got into the car and fled. As the vehicle drove away, several backup officers arrived and began giving aid to the officer who was shot. While they ran toward the officer, the vehicle started moving toward the officers and shots were fired on from the vehicle according to Velez. The second group of officers returned fire and the vehicle crashed into a tree.

“These officers are coming to work to protect, defend the residents of Prince George’s County, and this evening these heroes did just that,” said county executive Angela Alsobrooks at the press conference. “They ran toward danger.” 

Steven Maurice Warren, 27, and Andre Smith, 47 were arrested and charged with three counts of attempted first- and second-degree murder, three counts of first- and second-degree assault and use of handgun in commission of a felony. Police said neither man was shot during the exchange of gunfire. 

Despite a scene the residents in the community called “chaotic,,” there were no fatalities and the officers are expected to make full recoveries.

“They’re going to be fine and they are in good spirits. They are concerned about each other. They expressed concern for the person that they were responding to for the call for service,” Velez said. “At this point, they suffered various degrees of injuries, and fortunately, we were able to apprehend two individuals.”