The shooting of a special police officer during a training exercise at a D.C. library came as the group of trainees had gathered to take a picture and were “joking around,” according to court documents.
Maurica Manyan, 25, interrupted the picture-taking to remove her face-mask, her classmates teased her and then the instructor, 58-year-old Jesse Porter, pulled his gun from his holster and shot her in the chest, according to surveillance video of the incident described in the documents.
“I thought I had my training gun,” Porter, a retired police lieutenant, told the first police officer who responded to the library on Good Hope Road Thursday afternoon. “Why did I do this? Is she OK?”
Manyan, of Indian Head, Maryland, was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Porter, who conducted the training as a private contractor, was arrested Friday and has now been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Manyan’s death.
Several other trainees and members of the Library Police taking part in Thursday’s training session told investigators the group had been teasing Manyan all day about her not being ready for various tasks.
Earlier in the day, after Manyan made a funny comment, Porter pointed an orange training firearm at her to simulate shooting her, one of the trainees told police.
The trainee said Porter “appeared to be playing around,” and that Porter is often playful so “as to not make the training dry.”
Thursday’s training session involved de-escalation, using ASP batons and handcuff training. There were also multiple brightly colored plastic training guns, and earlier in the day trainees observed Porter replace the firearm in his holster with one of the plastic training models.
Some of the trainees said they didn’t actually see Porter fire his gun. One of the witnesses said that after Manyan interrupted the picture-taking, Porter held his hands up and said something to the effect of, “Here we go again,” before the witness reported hearing the gun going off.
Investigators said in court documents that surveillance video shows Porter shooting Manyan in the chest after the group huddled together for the picture.
Immediately afterward, the video shows Porter and others administering CPR on Manyan and Porter “appeared distraught and very remorseful,” according to the account in the documents.
Porter was taken to the D.C. police homicide branch but declined to answer detectives’ questions.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 1