Dump truck driver pleads guilty to attempted murder of police officers

WASHINGTON — A dump truck driver has pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree murder of Prince George’s County police officers, but has been found not criminally responsible and will remain in a mental health facility.

Gene Thomas Brandon was behind the wheel of a 2007 GMC dump truck when he approached officers Jeffrey Bragg and Rodney Lauchman on Jan. 7, 2015, as the officers stood between their parked cruisers at Woodmore Towne Centre, in Glenarden, Maryland.

Brandon told the officers they killed his brother. The officers told Brandon they did not kill his brother, and he would have to move his truck because it was blocking traffic.

When Brandon repeated the accusation, the officers again replied they had not harmed his brother, ordered him to move his vehicle, and told him to have a nice day.

After telling the officers they were about to have a nice day, Brandon drove the truck a short distance, turned around, and accelerated toward the officers.

Brag and Lauchman dashed to a nearby field to avoid being hit, while Brandon struck Lauchman’s cruiser, which hit Brag’s cruiser.

Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski praised the officers’ handling of the situation.

“They used incredible restraint, remained calm, and took an individual who was subsequently found to be mentally ill into custody,” Stawinski told News Channel 8.

State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said Brandon’s mental health status will be re-evaluated every six months.

“Certainly I would like him to be held responsible for his actions that put two of our officers’ lives in jeopardy,” Stawinski said.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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