WASHINGTON - A suspect believed to be tied to a series of shootings and carjackings in D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland was fatally shot by police.
Police said the suspect, who has been identified as 28-year-old Artell Cunningham, began the violent rampage early Monday evening in D.C.
The first reported incident happened in NW D.C. when Cunningham got into a car and shot the driver, who remains hospitalized. The second incident was an attempted carjacking that happened around 7 p.m. Monday on the 1000 block of N Street HW.
About 10 minutes later that night, police said Cunningham shot a man and stole a car. The man shot has died, police said.
"It appears there’s at least two other carjackings that occurred in the Prince George’s County area. The final one being a Nissan Rogue that fled that location," Executive Assistant Chief of MPD Jeffrey Carroll said Tuesday. "The information that we have received so far is there is no connection between any of the individuals that perpetrated this crime and the people in D.C. Information that we do have is that potentially, there are mental health concerns with this individual, and he went on a spree. This is not a typical carjacking or crime spree. It does appear there are mental health concerns and overtones related to this."
A press briefing Tuesday was held near where the suspect was ultimately shot by two New Carrollton police officers on patrol earlier in the morning. The two officers were responding to a disabled and unoccupied vehicle along the 7500 block of Annapolis Road just before 5 a.m. Tuesday that was later determined to be carjacked in Prince George’s County when police said that Cunningham approached them armed with two handguns.
The two officers drew their weapons and fired, though it’s unclear how many times. Cunningham later died at a hospital.
Prior to the shooting in New Carrollton, police said a number of police cruisers had been shot at overnight.
"Shortly after 2:30 this morning, a trooper assigned to the MSP College Park responded to the area of SB I-95 near Maryland Route 198 in Laurel to assist a stranded motorist," Col. Roland Butler with Maryland State Police said. "It was at that time, the individual fired at least one shot from that vehicle. That shot struck the trooper’s windshield. The trooper then took cover. The trooper sped away. The trooper stopped to check the welfare of the motorist and the tow truck, at which time he tried to locate that vehicle while broadcasting a description of that vehicle to allied law enticement agencies in the area."
The officer-involved shooting is now under investigation by the Independent Investigations Division of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. IID spokesperson Thomas Lester said they expect to release the name of the deceased suspect and the names of the involved officers within two business days.
"We do know that New Carrollton Police Department are issued body cameras and officers are equipped with those cameras. We’re still working to determine whether or not the incident was captured on camera," Lester said.
Within 20 business days, Lester said their office will release any camera footage they were able to recover during the incident.
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