The police officer who died last week after a gunman opened fire on a Maryland police station was killed by friendly fire, authorities said Monday.
Jacai Colson, a 28-year-old officer with the Prince George's County Police Department, died Sunday shortly after a gunman opened fire at the police station where he worked in what the authorities called an "unprovoked attack." He was not in uniform at the time.
The gunman, who was not immediately identified, had attempted "suicide by cop" when he opened fire. He was also shot, but is expected to survive.
Police said one of the suspects had attempted "suicide by cop" when he opened fire. The bullet that took Colson's life, however, came from the gun of one of his fellow officers, not from the gunman, police said. The two other suspects — the gunman's brothers — recorded the incident on their cellphones and remained in custody on Monday, Associated Press reported.
Colson, who had been with the department for four years, died at a hospital Sunday night after being shot while he and other officers were "going about their business" outside the District Three station, Chief Hank Stawinski said.
"It wasn't about anything," Stawinski told reporters Sunday night.
It appears that the gunman fired at the first officer he saw, then continued to exchange gunfire as other officers responded, Stawinski said.
The suspects' names were not immediately released, and police said there was no known motive for the shooting.
Outside the hospital where Colson had been taken, Fraternal Order of Police President John Teletchea described Colson as a friend.
"Jacai had an infectious smile," he said. "He lit up a room."
Colson had been working as an undercover narcotics officer, and Teletchea said he was dedicated to protecting the community.
"He was a real cop's cop, didn't shy away from any calls," he said.
State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks described Colson's death as an "act of cowardice" that would be prosecuted as murder.
"This is a crime against the community, and we will treat it as such," she said.
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
Nicolás Medina Mora is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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