A three-year-old girl has died of injuries suffered when her father engaged in a shootout with police while she was a passenger in his vehicle. Prior to the gun battle with police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the father had led law enforcement on a high-speed chase throughout the county. The father of the girl was shot and killed after at least five officers fired at his car. It is unknown whether the girl was shot by officers or her father.
Officers had been following the unidentified man in connection with the shooting of his daughter’s great-grandmother and grandfather, both of whom were on her mother’s side. The victims were shot in the same home in Fort Washington, Md. just prior to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Neighbors described the street as quiet and filled mostly with retirees. The victims were transported to a hospital and, as of Saturday evening, are reported to be in serious condition.
A witness saw a man leaving the area after the shooting in a Nissan Altima and called police, who were able to catch up to the fleeing man quickly. During the high-speed chase, one of the wheels on his car fell off, causing the man to briefly stop the vehicle, at which time he fired at police and then continued driving. He again stopped his car and fired on police as he neared the highway. After another half-mile, he started shooting at the officers in pursuit. Officers then returned fire as he reached Branch Avenue in Suitland, at which point the man suffered a fatal gunshot wound.
Police spokesman of Prince George County, William Alexander, is not clear on whether or not officers who fired at the car knew that the 3-year-old girl was inside of it. It is believed that one Maryland state trooper and five Prince George’s County officers fired their weapons at the man’s car.
Investigators are currently trying to determine if there were any prior calls or incidents involving the victims and the man. At this point, whether the father, mother or victims had custody of the girl is not known, but the mother of the three-year-old was not present at either scene. The names of both victims will not be released by police until their families have been notified of their deaths.
Alexander shared that none of the law enforcement officers involved were hurt. As is routine, the officers involved in the shootout will be placed on administrative leave. Investigators are actively processing both crime scenes in hopes of finding more information.
This is the third time within a month that a three-year-old has been shot and killed in Maryland. Knijah Bibb was killed while playing in a home in which she was visiting in Landover, Md., less than a month ago. A man named Davon Wallace had been at the home when he was asked to leave. He returned to the home after several hours had passed and sprayed the home with gunfire. One of the bullets fired hit Knijah, and she died a short time later. Three-year-old McKenzie Elliott was playing on the porch of her next-door neighbor’s home in Baltimore when she was caught in the middle of a drive-by shooting and was fatally shot.
By Jennifer Pfalz