WASHINGTON - A man accused of striking two D.C. police officers and a city transportation worker in a hit-and-run crash in Adams Morgan Thursday night made his first appearance in court on Saturday.
The two Metropolitan Police bicycle officers and a D.C. Department of Transporation worker were on duty on 18th Street NW, an area popular for its dining and nightlife, when they were hit. The bicycle patrol officers were working to relieve a traffic jam when the pickup truck drove into them at a high rate of speed.
According to court documents released Saturday, witnesses saw a Metro bus come to a stop in the road, after a car in front of it stopped to let passengers out. Suddenly, a white Dodge pick-up truck sped around the stopped bus and struck all three victims before colliding with a sanitation truck several blocks away.
Brandon Figures-Mormon, 22, is charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, as well as aggravated assault. Police also arrested Figures-Morman's passenger, 23-year-old Dwayne Nicholas Taylor. He was riding in the pick up truck that struck the three victims along very busy 18th Street NW. He faced a weapons charged, but the D.C. Attorney General's office elected not to charge him after reviewing evidence in the case.
Figures-Morman is from Disputanta, Va. and Taylor is from Prince George, Va., both rural areas in a county outside of Richmond.
Investigators are still working to determine what led to the crash, but they have said a military-style weapon and a 100-round drum magazine were found in the back of the pick up truck. On Friday, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said there was no information to suggest that this incident was terror-related.
Court documents indicate that Taylor told investigators that before the crash, both he and Figures-Mormon had smoked "dabs" -- which are concentrated doses of cannibis that are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids using a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide, resulting in sticky oils commonly referred to as "Wax," "shatter," "budder," and butane hash oil, or "BHO."
Taylor told investigators that while they were parked in the block before the crash, Figures-Morman started looking at his cell phone, as though he were reading text messages or something else. Then, Taylor claims, he put the truck in drive suddenly, and sped forward, hitting the three victims. Court documents say Taylor told police Figures-Morman drove directly at an officer standing in the block, and when he asked him what he was doing, Taylor says Figures-Morman just kept going.
Court documents say another witness interviewwd by law enforcement said that Figures-Morman and Taylor came to Chantilly, Va. on Wednesday, June 8 to take part in a local firearms expo. That witness said that he had placed the gun and ammunition in the white pick-up truck because he couldn't have it in their hotel room, and that he forgot to get it out. The witness said Figures-Mormon was aware that the gun and ammunition were in the truck, and that he borrowed the truck to go to the store on Thursday evening, but that was the last that witness saw of the truck. Then, he saw reports on TV about the officers being injured, and recognized the truck.
Another witness who said he has known Figures-Morman for several years told investigators, according to court documents, that about a year and a half ago, Figures-Morman had "started making negative comments about police officers to the effect of 'all police officers need to die.'" That witness told investigators that in a Snapchat messge he received from Figures-Morman on Wednesday-- the day before the hit-and-run crash-- Figures-Morman also advocated killing police officers.
The court documents indicate that the officers and the transportation worker were standing a considerable distance away from one another when they were hit, and witnesses told police the truck did not slow down after hitting the first victim, before striking the other two.
Meanwhile the victims continue to recover. Both officers are four-year veterans of the department. The documents released Saturday say that the officer who suffered the most serious injuries had head trauma and a punctured heart due to fractured ribs. He underwent surgery to repair his heart, and though he was listed in critical condition when he was taken to the hospital, he was in the Intensive Care Unit on Saturday in serious but stable condition. That officer is expected to be in the hospital for about a week.
The second officer who was hit suffered a broken nose, sprained right ankle, injuries to his hand and burns on various parts of his body due to contact with the road. He was discharged from the hospital after one day. The transportation worker was treated at the hospital Thursday night and released.
A GoFundMe has been established to help with the expenses involved in the officers' recovery. If you'd like to contribute, click here for a link.