COLLEGE PARK, Maryland—A police officer fired her gun at a moving car in the parking lot of a Home Depot in College Park, Maryland, Thursday morning.
Around 7:45 a.m., a Prince George’s County, Maryland, police officer fired her weapon once after a vehicle containing a driver and two individuals who had just left the store made contact with her as the vehicle fled the Home Depot parking lot, said Prince George’s County Police Chief Henry Stawinski.
The uniformed female officer, a nine-year veteran of the department, was on duty at the time and talking with the manager of the Home Depot when the manager identified two individuals in the store, who were believed to be attempting to steal several hundred dollars worth of items, Stawinski said.
The first man headed to a parked car outside after seeing the officer and manager talking, police said.
Just minutes later, a second man was caught on surveillance video coming around a corner with a shopping cart full of power tools and a crowbar in hand before he left with the items, police said.
The officer chased the second man into the parking lot until he got into the parked car with the other man, and a driver. The officer then confronted the vehicle’s occupants and drew her weapon, according to police.
After the officer drew her weapon, the vehicle began moving and made contact with the officer, who fired a single shot, Stawinski said.
The round fired did not hit the vehicle — a gold SUV — or any of its occupants, according to the police chief.
The vehicle was captured on surveillance and bystander video heading toward University Boulevard.
Although the SUV’s license plates had been obscured, officers on patrol nearby were able to identify the vehicle and pull it over for a traffic stop around the 2400 block of University Boulevard, Stawinski said.
The driver of the vehicle was taken into custody and the vehicle is now in the possession of the Prince George’s County police department.
Stawinski did not release the identities of the men in the store or the driver in custody, but said that the individuals are known to the store and the police department.
The county has focused more on theft and property crime this year, and has had a robbery suppression team in place, separate from the officer involved, police said.
The officer was shaken up but fine, according to the police chief.
“I’m very proud of this officer again for going beyond, not just calling in, but pursuing and having a confrontation and doing an excellent job,” Stawinski said. “She did try to intervene and prevent it.”