A man is dead after charging officers while wielding two knives in Hyattsville, Maryland, on Thursday, police said.
According to Prince George’s County police, the incident happened near Toledo and Belcrest roads, behind The Mall at Prince George’s.
They received a call from a local coffee shop about an armed individual around 7:15 a.m.
Hyattsville Police Chief Amal Awad said city officers arrived at the intersection of East-West Highway and Belcrest Road at about 7:18 a.m. and saw the suspect, later identified as 49-year-old Leonard 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 Shand for nearly a half-hour while trying to contain him, walking up and down Belcrest, Awad said, to keep pedestrians and school children away from him.
Police say they attempted a variety of nonlethal options before shooting — including deploying a Taser three times. Awad said the Taser attempts were “unsuccessful” and that Shand 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 Shand in the street and he paces and waves his hands around. After some time, the flashbang goes off and Shand 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.
Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank 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.”
He also said that video recorded by bystanders corroborates the actions taken by police.
WTOP’s John Domen reports that a bullet hole was in the second floor window of a nearby pediatric dental office.
A nearby apartment apparently also has a bullet hole.
Two knives, one covered in what could be blood, were recovered from the scene.
Police say they are reviewing car and body camera footage that recorded the shooting.
WTOP’s John Domen reported from Hyattsville, Maryland.
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