WASHINGTON - D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham says there is no information "to suggest that this was a terrorism-related event" as two bicycle patrol officers continue to recover after being struck by a pickup truck Thursday night in Adams Morgan.
He tweeted an encouraging message Friday morning saying that the conditions of the officers had improved overnight.
A long and tough night 4 the MPD family, one officer remains critical but stable & the other is in fair condition. Thanks 4 all your support— Peter Newsham (@pnewsham2) June 9, 2017
The officers, along with a District Department of Transportation worker, were on-duty Thursday night around 9 p.m. along 18th Street in Adams Morgan, a popular D.C. nightlife area, when they were hit.
The bicycle patrol officers were working to relieve a traffic jam on 18th Street when the pickup truck drove into them at a high rate of speed. Witnesses told FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick that the truck was stopped behind a Metrobus and impatiently sped around the bus before striking the three victims. They say the pickup truck dragged one of the officers for several blocks before crashing into a trash truck.
Witnesses also say one of the officers was near the driver’s side of the front of the bus while the other was a few more yards up the street.
"Suddenly – ‘Pow! Boom! Hit him, ran over the bike, flattened the bikes, dragged him down the street,” said Darian Gray, who was working the door at the Madam’s Organ bar iwhen the collision occurred. “Another DDOT officer was standing over here – hit her, knocked her out. We ran over to help the officer.”
The driver, 22-year-old Brandon Figures-Mormon of Disputanta, Virginia, and 23-year-old Dwayne Nicholas Taylor of Prince George, Virginia, were quickly arrested following the incident.
Figures-Mormon is facing charges of assault with intent to kill and possession of unregistered firearm/unlawful possession of a firearm or destructive device. Taylor also faced a weapons charge, but the D.C.'s Attorney General's Office says they elected not to charge him after reviewing evidence.
According to a recording of a D.C. Fire radio transmission, paramedics believed the driver may have been under the influence of something and noted a pipe was found in the truck.
Chief Newsham said that the truck was traveling "at a high rate of speed" and that an assault rifle was recovered from the striking vehicle, along with a 100 round drum magazine found in the trunk.
Newsham reports that there is no information suggesting this was a terrorist-related event.
He also warmly praised a Metro bus driver who sprinted to the aid of the injured officers.
"I can tell you this – it is my opinion that the Metro employee, the D.C. Fire Department and the folks at the hospital saved a life last night,” said Newsham.
Both D.C. officers are four-year veterans of the department.
"They are members of this elite unit that we have down in Adams Morgan, our nightlife unit,” the police chief said. “This is a team of unbelievable officers. They are devastated by this thing. This is someone in their family who was significantly injured and his prognosis is unclear at this time so they are heartbroken by this.”