WASHINGTON — The Maryland man who opened fire on a Prince George’s County police station in March 2016, leading to the deadly friendly-fire shooting of an undercover detective, has been sentenced Thursday to 195 years in prison.
A jury last fall convicted 25-year-old Michael Ford of second-degree murder and other charges in the death of 28-year-old Jacai Colson, who was shot by a fellow officer during the melee at the Landover, Maryland, police station.
“That man does not deserve to be dead,” Ford said, turning back toward Colson’s parents sitting in the gallery. “I should be dead.”
Before the judge, Ford apologized to the Colson family and to the community, saying he couldn’t think clearly because of mental health issues which went untreated. However, Judge Lawrence Hill said the ripple effect caused by Ford’s actions could not be quantified.
Hill called Colson’s death a tragedy and compared his lost life to the plot of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“There are a number of people whose lives aren’t going to be saved because Jacai Colson isn’t here,” Hill said.
Ford’s two younger brothers, Elijah and Malik Ford, who pleaded guilty to charges related to the shooting, were also sentenced Thursday. Elijah Ford was sentenced to 12 years in prison; Malik Ford was sentenced to 20 years.
Malik Ford, 24, admitted he drove his brother, Michael, to the police station and videotaped the shooting with his cellphones, intending to post it on WorldstarHipHop.com, a website known for outrageous, sometimes violent, videos. Elijiah Ford, 21, pleaded guilty for his role in the crime. He took part in recording his brother’s so-called “last will,” in which Michael is seen instructing their mother to leave his possessions to his brothers, including his car.
It’s a circumstance that Judge Hill said he could not understand, calling the brothers greedy for their willingness to go along with Michael’s alleged plan to commit suicide by cop.
“You sold your brother down the river out of greed,” Hill said before sentencing.
Armed with a .40-caliber handgun, officials said Ford fired up to 23 shots during the attack, including two rounds that shattered the glass door of the station. He also fired at passing vehicles, including an ambulance that was hit by gunfire, according to authorities.
Ford was on a “mission to kill cops,” according to prosecutors, when he arrived at the police station and was responsible for creating the “combat zone” environment that led to Colson’s death.
During the shooting, police officer Taylor Krauss testified to a grand jury that he mistook Colson, as a threat and fatally shot him in the chest. Ford’s attorney argued the shooting Ford started was well over before Krauss opened fire a full 30-seconds after Ford was subdued on the ground by other officers. A grand jury did not find enough evidence to charge Krauss in Colson’s death, and he testified during Ford’s trial that he never heard Colson identify himself as an officer or display a badge.
However, defense attorneys argued Krauss was careless and suggested race may have played a role in the officer’s actions. Krauss is white; both Colson and Ford are black.
In June, Colson’s parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Krauss, saying he acted recklessly and that Colson was carrying his badge and screaming “Police, police” when he was shot.
When asked about Krauss and the Colson family’s concerns at a news conference Thursday night, Prince George’s County States Attorney Aisha Braveboy said her office had “inherited” the case and was in charge of the sentencing.
“We believe we’ve done our job effectively,” Braveboy said. “It’s hard to question and judge what a prior administration decided to do, but I have done my job here today.”
WTOP’s Teta Alim and Megan Cloherty contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.