Prince George's shooting is 3rd in week by police

April 03, 1994|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Sun Staff Writer

A Prince George's County police officer and a deputy sheriff fatally shot a knife-wielding man in Oxon Hill Friday evening, the third person shot by county police last week.

Johnnie Vern Clark, 36, of Capital Heights, died of gunshot wounds around 8:30 p.m. Friday at Greater Southwest Community Hospital.

Less than 24 hours earlier on Thursday evening, a 19-year-old Landover man died after he was shot during a struggle with a police officer at a strip mall on Landover Road.

On Monday, a county officer fatally shot Kelvin Dennis Brown, 31, of New Carrollton, after Mr. Brown killed his girlfriend and held another woman hostage.

In Friday's shooting, police said Officer Stacey Gist went to an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Southview Drive to investigate a domestic dispute. County Deputy Sheriff Steven Dopler, who was working off-duty as a security officer at the complex, also arrived on the scene.

Mr. Clark's family told police he was high on crack cocaine and that they wanted him out of their apartment. Police said the officers talked Mr. Clark into leaving. Once he was outside, his relatives said they would handle him, but Mr. Clark broke free and ran back into the apartment.

Police said Mr. Clark re-emerged, holding a butcher knife that had an eight-inch blade. He ran past his family and straight for the two officers, ignoring repeated orders to drop the knife, police said. Both officers opened fire, striking Mr. Clark several times.

Thursday, Officer Daniel Wood was on duty and in uniform about 9 p.m. when he approached two people he believed were making a drug deal, police said. One of the suspects ran into Ginny's Bar and Restaurant at 7539 Landover Road, with the officer in pursuit.

The struggle began as Officer Wood took a handgun from the suspect's waistband, police said. The man lunged toward the officer, police said. Officer Wood fired, fatally wounding Devin Maurice Eley, 19, of Landover.

Capt. James Terracciano, county police spokesman, said three shootings in one week involving police was highly unusual.

"We had one shooting incident earlier in the year involving an officer, then we went almost three months without another until this week," he said. "You can't predict these things. There's no rhyme or reason for it other than there are just too many guns and other weapons out there on the streets today."

Last year, county officers were involved in 16 shootings in which 17 people were shot, eight of them fatally, Captain Terracciano said.

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