BOWIE, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A Bowie man falsely accused of murder was praised as a hero on Monday - in the wake of a police response that could have turned dangerous, or even deadly.
The incident unfolded on Sunday morning when police received a 911 call saying a local man had murdered someone.
Author and columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. - who writes about race, politics, and culture for a living - was the target of the phony call.
At 4:30 a.m., Pitts found himself in the very center of the controversial subject he covers.
Pitts said that when officers responded, he tried to do everything he could to calm the situation.
"That I needed to do everything I could as soon as I could to assure them that I posed no threat and no crime was being committed. I figured if we could get to that point, that everything else would take care of itself," Pitts said.
Bowie Police Chief John Nesky said officers quickly determined that Pitts had been the victim of a false 911 call.
"The male caller indicated that he had murdered somebody and that he was going to shoot the police when they arrive," Nesky said.
Thankfully, police proactively called Pitts, and he also picked up the phone. When officers did arrive, he cooperated as they tried to sort out the situation.
"I've got my hands as far from my body as I can get them, because my concern is that nobody misinterprets anything at this point and I walk towards him and they tell me to get on my knees and put my hands on my head. Basically the same thing you see on cop shows, a hundred times, except now it's real," Pitts said.
Nesky credited both his own officers and Pitts for de-escalating what could have been a dangerous, potentially deadly situation.
"Things could very easily have gone another direction, an unfortunate direction, and we're very happy that it didn't," Nesky said.
Bowie Police are using all their resources to investigate the caller - saying he could face both state and federal charges.
According to police, they take this type of thing very seriously.
Pitts - who writes about police brutality - says he plans to share his experience, praising the officers for how well they handled the situation.