Grand jury declines to indict officers in fatal Gaithersburg shooting

A Montgomery County, Maryland, grand jury reviewing the case of a man who was shot and killed by Gaithersburg Police said there was not enough evidence to charge the officers, concluding Howard County’s investigation.

Per a memorandum of understanding with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, Howard County prosecutors conducted the investigation of the shooting that happened on Jan. 8, when Kwamena Ocran, 24, was shot and killed by Gaithersburg Police.

Plainclothes officers had been tracking Ocran at an apartment building downtown after an alleged illegal handgun purchase, and he was shot during a pursuit. All four officers returned fire after Ocran fired a gun in the direction of the officers, court documents said. Ocran died from multiple gunshot wounds, the autopsy revealed. Police recovered a handgun next to Ocran.

Crime technicians found a total of 23 shell casings from the scene, and the analysis determined that all 23 came from the officers’ weapons, the report said, adding that the weapon found next to Ocran would have ejected a shell casing had it been fired.

The attorney for Ocran’s family said last May that Ocran was not representing a threat to the officers, and that he did not have a firearm in his hand when he was shot. Concerned that the investigators had not developed the same witnesses, the Ocran family lawyer met last April with the Howard County Assistant State’s Attorney for an update on the then four-month investigation and offered names of potential witnesses who said they saw the shooting.

The Howard County prosecutor reviewed several pieces of evidence, including cellphone videos, police communications, surveillance videos, recorded interviews with the officers and witnesses, body camera footage, forensic reports and other crime scene notes.

Believing that the facts were in dispute, the prosecutor presented all the facts to the grand jury, so members could decide as to what they believed the facts to be and if any charges were appropriate, according to a summary of the investigation.

The presentation of testimony and evidence took place starting in September, with the jurors able to ask any questions to help their deliberation.

WTOP’s Glynis Kazanjian contributed to this report. 

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up