Authorities identified the officer who fired his .40 caliber Glock during a traffic stop last week as Lt. Ernest Stanley, but questions concerning the identity of the driver and why Stanley fired his gun remain unclear.
The incident occurred at approximately 5:20 p.m Aug. 8 at the corner of Excalibur Road and Elder Oaks Boulevard in Bowie. Stanley has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Prince George’s County Police have opened a criminal and an internal investigation into the incident that ended with the driver fleeing and turning himself in later that night. Stanley sustained minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital.
The matter is being handled by county police to “make sure that the investigation is unbiased and fair,” Bowie Police Chief John Nesky said.
The driver was not injured, but his vehicle was struck with a bullet during the incident, according to a release from the Prince George’s County Police Department.
Detectives interviewed and released him without filing any charges.
The Prince George’s County Police Department’s blog said “detectives are working to piece together the sequence of those events.”
Police have rejected requests for what charges the driver might face, if he faces any. A Prince George’s County blog post last week said the driver “has not been charged with any crimes at this point in the investigation.”
As of Wednesday, police had not charged him.
Nesky said the investigative process will determine if Stanley broke any criminal laws first, then determine if he followed proper protocol in conducting the stop.
“We look forward to getting the results to ensure everything was within policy and procedure,” he said. “We’re very thankful that the office only sustained minor injuries and that there were no serious injury or loss of life.”
This is the third officer-involved shooting in five years and the fourth overall in the department’s 12-year history.
“This is not the kind of thing that officers deal with every day, the discharge of a service weapon,” Nesky said. “It’s a very serious matter, both to the officer and the public.”
In October 2016, three suspects fled the scene of a stolen vehicle in the 15400 block of Jenkins Ridge Road in a U-Haul truck and intentionally rammed a police cruiser. An officer fired at the U-Haul truck before police from multiple agencies pursued the suspects into Washington, D.C. Charges were dropped against a fourth suspect who was apprehended at the original scene.
In December 2013, Joseph Moreland, of Hyattsville, led police on a foot chase through the Kenilworth neighborhood before jumping into a vehicle left idling in the 2600 block of Kennison Lane. He suffered an upper-body gunshot wound after he drove the vehicle towards officers. Moreland was convicted of second-degree assault and motor vehicle theft.
Officers were unharmed in both cases.
In 2008, multiple law enforcement agencies pursued suspected armed bank robbers into Bowie, culminating on Old Annapolis Road where officers, including Bowie police, fired at the suspects.