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Fugitive who died in gun battle with Maryland police killed his estranged girlfriend in Florida, authorities say

A Florida fugitive who died in a gun battle with police outside Washington this week has a long criminal record and on Monday fatally shot his estranged girlfriend in front of her four children, according to court records and an aunt of the victim.

The fugitive, Shawn Lequin Braddy, 37, opened fire on Montgomery County police officers as they closed in on him Tuesday afternoon, officials said. Braddy shot Detective Donnie Oaks, a 20-year veteran of the department, who remained hospitalized in stable condition Wednesday after undergoing surgery, police said.

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It was the second time in Oaks’ career that he’d been shot, and certainly not the first time he had faced someone violent, according to previous news coverage.

In 2007, Oaks was hit by two rounds during an undercover PCP buy. In 2016, an off-duty Uber driver — armed with a homemade miniature shotgun — tried to kill him, but the weapon malfunctioned.

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Oaks is part of Montgomery’s elite Repeat Offender Unit, a group of 10 plainclothes detectives tasked with finding, surveilling and arresting violent suspects.

“That’s what they do all the time,” Montgomery Assistant Police Chief Ronald Smith said.

On Tuesday, Oaks and his colleagues were alerted that Braddy had fled to Maryland and was considered to be armed and dangerous. They found him in the Laurel area of Prince George’s County and attempted to arrest him.

“The individual began to shoot at my detectives,” Police Chief Marcus Jones said. “Our officers returned fire, at which point in time a [foot] chase ensued with a gun battle.”

The shootout is being investigated by Prince George’s County police.

Eight officers were involved, five of whom fired their weapons, according to Julie Wright, a Prince George’s police spokeswoman.

She declined to discuss further details of the encounter, saying the investigation is early and active.

Smith said that the Repeat Offender Unit detectives must be patient enough to conduct long surveillance operations and well trained enough to move in quickly on suspects. Most of the time, they make apprehensions without resistance — and oftentimes their targets are armed.

“It’s just remarkable the number of guns, the proliferation of guns, in this region,” Smith said.

In Florida, family members of Tiara McDaniel, 33, the victim authorities said Braddy killed, mourned her loss even as they felt relief that Braddy had been found.

“Everyone was scared because we didn’t know where he was,” said McDaniel’s aunt, Tanya Knight.

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Braddy’s criminal record goes back to at least 2001, when he was arrested on a marijuana dealing charge, according to Florida court records.

In 2006, he began dating McDaniel, according to court records.

“Our relationship ended in 2009 due to [his] violent temper,” McDaniel wrote in a later court filing when she sought a protective order from him.

She wrote about how Braddy harassed her in 2010, tried to get back together and attacked her.

“I was going inside my mothers home when [Braddy] jumped from a tree, pulled a gun and ordered me back in my car,” she wrote, according to the court records.

Braddy was charged with several crimes in the incident, pleaded guilty to felony battery and was sentenced as a habitual felony offender to three years in a Florida state prison, according to court records.

More recently, he had been found guilty in a marijuana case and faced pending charges for trafficking in fentanyl, according to records.

Knight said in an interview Wednesday that Braddy had come back into McDaniel’s life.

“She left him a couple of months ago,” Knight said. “And she wasn’t willing to get back with him.”

Other parts of McDaniel’s life, Knight said, had been better.

She worked for a credit card company, had just bought a house and was raising four children she adored. “To her, everything was about her kids,” Knight said.

Her oldest, 16, is a boy whose football games McDaniel loved attending, Knight said. The three others are girls, ages 14, 5 and 2.

Braddy confronted McDaniel at her home Monday with her children present and fatally shot her, according to family members.

“He did it [in] front of everybody,” Knight said.

She described the three oldest children as being in shock.

“I don’t think they’re really feeling it right now,” Knight said.

The youngest girl has been crying.

“She keeps asking for her mama,” Knight said.

Washington Post reporter Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this article.

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