Officer one of 2 with ‘severe injuries’ after confrontation at New Carrollton Starbucks

WASHINGTON — A police officer and another person are in the hospital with what are described as “severe” but non-life-threatening injuries, after a confrontation involving a knife in New Carrollton, Maryland, Friday morning.

Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said on Friday afternoon that a New Carrollton police officer was standing in line at a Starbucks coffee shop on Annapolis Road at about 11 a.m. when a manager told him that another patron in the shop had been in a confrontation the night before in which they had supposedly pulled a knife on another person in the shop.

The manager saw the patron stand up to leave, Stawinski said. The officer followed the patron outside and told them to stop. They refused, “and a confrontation begins.” As it escalated, Stawinski said, the officer used a Taser, but “it didn’t take effect.” He said he couldn’t say for sure how exactly it had failed.

At a certain point in the confrontation, Stawinski said, the officer and the other person fell to the ground, knocking the officer’s body camera loose. “It is our belief that at this point that it captures no other portions of this struggle,” he said.

As they struggled on the ground, “a knife is produced,” Stawinski said. Eventually, he said, “both the officer and the subject are wounded by that knife.”

As of 3 p.m., Stawinski said, both the officer and the subject were in surgery and expected to survive what he called “severe injuries.”

Stawinski said that the county police were involved in the investigation at the request of the New Carrollton police. He added that they believe the Starbucks and nearby businesses have video of the incident.

The chief added that he didn’t know whose knife it was, saying that it was “not uncommon” for officers to carry knives and that the other person was accused of using a knife the night before.

He said it was “not clear” what prompted the use of the stun gun, but said that the New Carrollton department’s procedure was the same as the county police’s: “We don’t deploy a Taser merely because someone refuses to comply with an order. We perceive a threat and we use the Taser as a less-lethal method to control them.”

Stawinski said that the police would know more once both the injured people are out of surgery and can be interviewed.

He added that the decision of whether to release any video that is discovered is up to the New Carrollton police, but said “I don’t anticipate any problems.”

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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