4 DC police officers on leave after mental health call leads to shots fired

An officer-involved shooting in D.C. sent a man to the hospital and put a number of officers on administrative leave.

It happened Saturday afternoon just steps away from George Washington University’s graduation ceremonies.

Police say the incident started as a welfare check in the morning that turned into gunshots by early afternoon. A number of neighbors say they heard the shots — one thought it was garbage cans  — while another thought it could be fireworks.

"It kind of sounded like gunfire," said Tom Siebert, who lives in the area. Siebert’s first thought was right but he wasn't sure.

"My reaction was, it’s some sort of fireworks celebrating that," Siebert said. 

Celebrating George Washington University’s class of 2024, department ceremonies were taking place just steps away at The Smith Center.

"When I went down in front of the building where we live, there were 30 police cars here. I mean they descended here. It was very quick," Siebert said. 

There was a quick response to the officer-involved shooting at the Columbia Plaza Apartments just off Virginia Avenue, right across the street from GW student housing.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Officer involved shooting near GWU graduation in Northwest DC: police

Second District Commander Tatjana Savoy says just before 11 a.m. police arrived at the complex responding to an individual having a mental health crisis so officers called the Department of Behavior Health for assistance.

When DBH arrived, officers attempted to place the individual in custody for an evaluation but things took a turn.

"The individual produced a knife from his pocket and stabbed one of the members," Savoy said. 

FOX 5 was told an officer used his taser on the man but it didn’t take effect.

"A member then used his department-issued service weapon, striking the individual," Savoy said. 

He was taken to the hospital where he’s expected to be ok. Police can’t confirm the number of shots fired but people who live by say it was at least three times.

"This is not a crime area of any kind. There’s a little bit of stuff but nothing terrible," Siebert said. 

The man who was shot is in the hospital and will be facing charges, including assault on a police officer. 

The officer was treated on scene and a total of four officers are on administrative leave — three witnesses and the officer who fired his weapon.

Police also tell FOX 5 that a crisis intervention officer was on the scene during the time of the shooting.