FBI-led task force kills parolee wanted in killing

W. Virginia man was tracked to Laurel house

February 04, 2000|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

A West Virginia parolee wanted on a murder charge was shot and killed yesterday by an FBI-led fugitive-hunting team, which had tracked him to a house in Laurel, the FBI said.

Details were sketchy last night, but investigators said Donald Lee Thompson Jr., 26, was shot repeatedly by members of the FBI's fugitive task force about 11: 45 a.m. FBI officials refused to say whether Thompson was armed at the time.

Residents in the area reported that they heard 12 to 20 gunshots coming from the house, a two-story brick duplex in the 900 block of Seventh St. All of the shots were fired by task force members, authorities said, although the reason they opened fire wasn't disclosed.

Agents had received a tip that Thompson was in the house in the Prince George's County section of Laurel. Peter A. Gulotta Jr., an FBI spokesman, said task force members were unable to get Thompson to surrender.

"He didn't come out. Eventually, they got into the dwelling, and he fled into a room," Gulotta said. "What happened next is under investigation. All we can say right now is that the individual was shot and killed."

Thompson was being sought on a West Virginia warrant charging him with first-degree murder, malicious wounding, two counts of kidnapping and aggravated assault stemming from an attack in Beckley, W. Va., Jan. 17. Thompson is accused of killing Ramon Downs, 23, and seriously wounded Downs' girlfriend.

The motive was robbery, police said. The couple were tied and gagged with black tape in separate rooms before they were shot.

Thompson was paroled in November in West Virginia, where he had been serving time for shooting a local star high school football player three times with a .38-caliber handgun in 1994 in Charleston, W. Va., when he suspected that the football player was dating his girlfriend.

Investigators looking for Thompson suspected that he had fled to Roanoke, Va., or the Washington area, where he had acquaintances.

Residents who live near the house said that they looked out their windows shortly after the shooting and saw 30 to 40 police officers and FBI agents.

"You never know what you're living next to," said Nicole Tartaglio, who moved to the area two months ago.

The FBI fugitive task force is made up of members of the FBI, Prince George's County sheriff's office, Prince George's County police and the state police. The shooting is being investigated by the Prince George's County police.

Sun staff writer Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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