TEMPLE HILLS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Prince George’s County Police are standing by the decision to allow a Friday suspect chase that took three PGPD cruisers through multiple Temple Hills backyards.
During the chase, there was a “close call” with a small dog. Now, critics of the pursuit argue: there could have been children there.
Several Prince George’s County police cruisers were caught on camera chasing another vehicle through multiple Maryland backyards in the Hillcrest Heights section of Temple Hills on Friday afternoon, shortly after 1:30 p.m.
The pursuit was caught on a homeowner's Ring camera. The camera is located near the 2000 block of Chita Court.
FOX 5's Stephanie Ramirez reports it was a little bit of a close call for the homeowner’s pet.
Alsan Bellard, who was home and working in the basement at the time of the case, had two dogs outside that were seen on camera barking at police cruisers going by. Bellard said the dog seen running out of the way of the cruisers, is named, “Lucky.”
“I understand that they had to – that they were chasing someone, it was a suspect so um, I definitely understand and respect the job that cops have to do. I’m just grateful my dogs are okay because this would be a different kind of video and I’m glad that no one is injured…,” Bellard told FOX 5 in a live interview on Friday.
A spokesperson with the Prince George’s County Police Department told FOX 5 the vehicle being pursued had been reported stolen in an armed carjacking in Washington, D.C. on June 2. Police also said when officers tried to conduct a traffic stop on Friday, the driver of that vehicle took off. An authorized police pursuit ensued.
“Our department authorizes officers to pursue a vehicle under some pretty strict vehicles and in this case, this vehicle was used in a pretty violent crime in the district, an armed carjacking,” said Public Information Officer, Cpl. Nicholson Clayton on Friday.
After viewing the video and FOX 5’s report, a road safety advocate and members of the community expressed concerns calling the pursuit “dangerous” and “reckless.” Some also questioned why police would authorize the pursuit in a residential neighborhood, where just a few hours after the chase, kids were seen playing on the very sidewalk the pursuit went over.
Both on and off camera on Monday, neighbors had mixed reactions Monday.
“I don’t think they should have because this is a neighborhood. So, cutting through the yards and stuff like that, that really gave us a scare. And then running up and down the street, we didn’t know what going on,” said Brianna Harrington, who was home at the time and heard the sirens.
Ronald Benson-El, who told FOX 5 he had walked backward into his garage after seeing the chase, said on Monday, “It’s hard to say because you don’t know what - what he did or what was authorized or whether it was necessary for them to do that. I mean, if they knew the area, they could have just blocked off that top area, this is hindsight of course, they could’ve blocked off that top, blocked off the street because there’s only one way in, one way out as far as the roads are concerned. They could’ve blocked off all of that without have to chase or anything because he had nowhere to go.”
FOX 5 followed up with PGPD on Monday in regards to the decision to authorize the police pursuit. In part of an emailed response, PGPD responded:
“…Our officers were authorized to pursue the vehicle based on the fact that it was stolen in an ‘Armed Carjacking’ an offense which is explicitly outlined as meeting the criteria to pursue a vehicle in our General Orders. All pursuits have to be authorized by a commander and that was the case in this pursuit.”
Cpl. Clayton also affirmed the Friday pursuit will be reviewed, as all vehicle pursuits are.
FOX 5 was told the driver was captured on Friday after the pursuit.
Cpl. Clayton told FOX 5 Jay’quan D. Williams, a D.C resident, was charged with: Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle, Theft over $1,500 but under $25,000, three counts of malicious destruction of property and is also facing multiple traffic citations.
Prince George’s County Police anticipate D.C. officials will also charge the suspect. FOX 5 has requested Maryland charging documents for the suspected driver.