Two people are dead in Prince George’s County, Maryland, after a man ran over and killed a family member with a stolen police car, then had a shootout with officers, according to Prince George’s County police.
Interim Police Chief Hector Velez said that just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, in the 7700 block of Seans Terrace in Lanham, officers received a call about a man, who police later identified as Vusumuzi Kunene, 36, of Lanham, was potentially suicidal and banging on the house door where his sister, Wadiya Brown, 45, of Lanham, lived.
The caller said Kunene potentially had a firearm. Police later reported that Kunene was caught shooting his sister on their mobile video system as officers arrived on the scene.
Kunene then turned his attention to the responding officers and opened fire before they had a chance to get out of their cruisers, according to Velez. One officer jumped out of his vehicle and took cover behind a backup vehicle.
According to Velez, Kunene then got into that police SUV and drove it up the street before turning around and driving back toward the officers.
As he was driving back, Kunene struck Brown, who had followed him from another residence in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. Police said she was lying in the street suffering from a gunshot wound when Kunene hit her the first time. He then made a U-turn and struck her again with the SUV.
Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man then jumped a curb to avoid a vehicle that was blocking the road and continued driving. He sideswiped two New Carrollton police cruisers before hitting a third head-on.
“At that point, New Carrollton police officers engaged the suspect, he was apprehended and transported to a hospital where he was later pronounced deceased,” Velez said.
Police said responding officers fired on Kunene when he approached them in the stolen police SUV. After taking him to a hospital in an attempt to save his life, Kunene died a short time later.
One officer was was taken to the hospital for injuries suffered from the head-on collision with Kunene, according to police.
Neighbor Roger Dennis said there were around 40 police cars that responded, with officers moving up and down the street “for what turned out to be pretty much all night.”
“Sometimes, things happen in our society that people just don’t have the wherewithal to deal with. And they react out of raw emotion and they do strange things,” Dennis told WTOP’s Melissa Howell. “It’s a terrible thing.”
“You’re feeling bad for the family. And it turned out very tragically.”
Velez said the investigation is still in its early stages and that officers are still trying to answer a number of questions in the case.
He said it is not clear at what point the suspect was shot, or if it was self-inflicted, but officers from Prince George’s County police and New Carrollton police had opened fire during the incident.
“Things like this are tragic,” Velez said. “We have a family that has lost two family members … the only thing I can say is to look out for one another. If someone is not feeling right, make sure you reach out and try to get some kind of attention … just make sure we don’t ignore someone who is experiencing a mental illness episode.”