Prince George’s County, Maryland, police have identified the officers who shot a suspect after he ran at them while wielding two knives in Hyattsville on Thursday.
Authorities identified the three Prince George’s County officers involved: Sgt. David Cheatham, Officer Dario Daniel and Officer Kesha Nsiah-Ababio. All are assigned to the Bureau of Patrol and, per standard operating procedure, are on administrative leave during the investigation into the shooting.
Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski has praised their performance.
The seven other officers involved — six from Hyattsville and one from Mount Rainier — have not been identified yet.
Leonard Shand, 49, of no fixed address, was identified as the armed suspect who charged at officers.
The incident started around 7:15 a.m. Thursday when police received a call from a local coffee shop about an armed individual.
Hyattsville Police Chief Amal Awad said at a Thursday news conference that city officers arrived at the intersection of East-West Highway and Belcrest Road at about 7:18 a.m. and saw Shand.
“They engage the suspect in an attempt to de-escalate. They’re communicating with him, they’re asking him to drop the weapons — he’s armed with two knives,” Awad said.
They then walked with the suspect for nearly a half-hour while trying to contain him, walking up and down Belcrest, Awad said, to keep pedestrians and schoolchildren away from the suspect.
Police said they attempted a variety of nonlethal options before shooting — including deploying a Taser three times. Awad said the Taser attempts were “unsuccessful” and that the man did not respond.
A supervisor arrived on the scene after, armed with a nonlethal beanbag shotgun.
“At some point, the suspect is heard saying that he embraces death and ‘I’m going to get you,’” Awad said. “And he’s specifically speaking to the supervisor who’s holding the shotgun.”
A flashbang — a device that explodes, creating a bright flash and a loud bang — was also used in an attempt to “divert a suspect’s attention and disorient him so that our officers can safely take him into custody,” Awad said.
Video posted online shows police confronting the suspect in the street as he paces and waves his hands around. After some time, the flashbang goes off and the man charges the supervisor.
Other officers opened fire to protect the supervisor, police said.
Shand’s last known address was in New Carrollton. Police say he had attacked an employee at the same local coffee shop with a metal pole three days earlier. In addition, police said, he was involved in a May 2018 confrontation.
Three different agencies responded to the incident, according to a spokesperson: Hyattsville city police, Prince George’s County police and Mount Rainier police.
Stawinski applauded the efforts of the police involved. “My compliments to the officers who worked diligently to try to contain this, to prevent violence, but again, this officer armed with a less-lethal weapon being confronted with this individual carrying two lethal weapons that precipitated the officers’ firing in defense of that individual’s life.”