Michael Ford is only 22, but he recorded his last will and testament in a cellphone video and then headed to the Landover, Md., police station on a quiet Sunday afternoon to die, police said.

Ford fired randomly at an ambulance, other vehicles and the doors of the station, pinning down officers who poured from the station to confront him, police said. Two of his brothers stood nearby recording the ambush with cellphones as it unfolded moment by agonizing moment.

Amid that barrage, an off-duty detective, Jacai Colson, arrived to visit another officer. Colson sprang from an unmarked police car and “heroically” drew Ford’s fire as he exchanged shots with the gunman, the police chief said.

The move allowed officers to overcome Ford, but in a chaotic moment, a shot probably fired by one of Colson’s fellow officers struck him and ultimately took his life.

Colson, an undercover narcotics detective, was in street clothes. It is unclear whether the officer who shot Colson confused him with an assailant or whether Colson was wounded accidentally amid the chaotic gunfire, Prince George’s County Police Chief Henry Stawinski III said.

This tragic story just keeps getting worse and worse.  It certainly disproves that all that is needed is a ‘good guy with a gun.”  In our past two cop killings, the good guys, the cops, did have guns.  Still, 2 are dead.

What makes this story bizarre, is that two of Michael Ford’s brothers stood nearby and recorded the action.  That is totally sick.  What is wrong with people?  I hope all three spend life in prison.  It is as though the brothers pulled the trigger also.  Legally, it appears that PG County has a real mess on its hands.

This young officer wasn’t yet 30 years old.  He had his entire life ahead of him.  It was stolen from him in an instant while some toadie tried a game of cops and robbers along with his brothers.  There needs to be a special Hell….

Yes, Blue Lives Matter

[update 10:51 am]

26 Thoughts to “Friendly-fire suspected to have caused death of Officer Colson”

  1. Starry flights

    That is tragic. You do have to wonder about that “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” meme. Clearly that is not the case in the real world. There are too damn many guns around.

  2. Steve Thomas

    Sighs…. I can’t believe that both Moon and Starry are looking at this, and their take-away is “good guys with guns” can’t stop “bad guys with guns”.

    First off, it now appears that the shooter intended to commit suicide. Second, it also appears that the officer died in a case of “blue on blue” fire. This happens a lot more often than you know. Off duty cops who intervene in crimes are always in danger of being shot by arriving uniformed officers. It’s often referred to as the “fog of war”. Cops understand this. Apparently neither of you do. There will be an investigation, but the fact that officers believed they were being fired upon by an unknown number of assailants will ultimately absolve them of wrong-doing. It’s called the “reasonable person standard”.

    So you demand perfection? In a perfect world, people wouldn’t kill people…but they do. They’ve been doing so for the entirety of human existence. The total prohibition of firearms won’t change this.

    Where you both totally leave the logic train, is implying that even police can’t stop bad-guys with guns. You are wrong. They can, and often do. Same with armed citizens. For each case where you could point to a failure of the good guy to stop the bad guy, I can point to hundreds of thousands of cases where good guys do stop bad guys, where the criminals are the ones who end up at “room temperature”.

    Here’s where I think you both fall short: too often, you try to make sense of the actions of sick, deranged, or just plain evil people. When you can’t, you settle for ascribing human attributes to an inanimate object. Let me set you both straight: In instances where sick, deranged, or just plain evil people are intent on causing others harm, have the means to do so, the only thing that can stop them is the application of equal or greater force. This is a fact proven throughout history.

    1. Steve, it should be no surprise to you that I hate that expression, “good guy with a gun.” It gives a false sense of security and has been so overused that I want to gag every time I hear it.

      Having said that, I have not said one word about this shooting that would indicate anything other than “good guys with guns” aren’t always the answer. There are toads out there. If there is a take-away after reading my post, I would hope it would have been seen as “blue lives matter.”

      Finally, if you aren’t safe in front of a police station, where are you safe? This is the second time in recent memory where police stations and officers were the target.

  3. Wolve

    I’ll give you a case right now. White Center, Washington, just a day or two ago. A guy came into a 7-11 store carrying a hatchet. Without warning and for no apparent reason, he began attacking a customer and then the store clerk. As the perp tried to cut down the clerk with his hatchet, the customer, a concealed carry permit holder, pulled out a gun and shot the perp dead. Local police chief said the permit holder saved the life of the store clerk.

    1. I have no problem with a private citizen stepping up and saving the day. I don’t even care if they are not such a good guy.

      I just hate that expression. I don’t want to round up people’s guns. I just want to not hear that BS.

  4. Ed Myers

    If police (and citizens) used non-lethal defense mechanisms instead of guns the number of cases of friendly fire and questionable deaths of young back men would decline.

    One does not need greater killing power to overcome someone who has a gun. Asymmetric power is possible. Tasers, tear gas, nets, etc. We frequently manage to subdue wild and dangerous animals without killing them. We may need better tools but they won’t be created or deployed until the public demands that police do their job with zero killings.

    It is wrong to declare that the only response to someone who wants to die is for society to oblige. It is a cry for help that needs to be answered with mental health services and not a bullet. We have over 1000 citizens killed by police each year. If police stopped killing crazy people crazy people could get help (or commit suicide themselves) instead of death by cop with all the risks that brings to police officers.

    1. Even though I have been ripped to shreds on just about everything I have written this week, I am going to say, Ed. I think you mean well. I just don’t think you are realistic. Sometimes crazy people just don’t give you a chance to help them. It turned into a kill or be killed situation, like PG County.

  5. Ed Myers

    I’m not disagreeing that today it is unrealistic to expect zero police killings. But let not perfection get in the way of progress towards fewer police killings.

    1. Are you asking for fewer police to be killed or to have fewer killings BY police?

  6. @Ed Myers
    Ed, I’ll bite. Let’s consider defense against a hatchet-bearing assailant mentioned above. You do agree that mace or a taser require one to get too close to the attacker, right? Exactly what do you suggest right now (not in the distant future) for non-lethal self defense?

  7. BSinVA

    Does anyone disagree that Michael Ford should not have had access to a weapon? Any weapon?

  8. Pat.Herve

    What this shows is that even very highly trained individuals make mistakes – especially in the first few moments of an incident like this. For many pistol owners – training is not the first thing on their minds. Unfortunately, many people will buy the pistol and never take comprehensive training. Some do – and I commend them for getting the training.

  9. BSinVA

    Does everyone agree that Michael Ford should not have access to a weapon? Any weapon?

    1. I think everyone agrees. Anyone who doesn’t may speak for him or herself. (and prepare to be berated.)

  10. Emma

    @Ed Myers “If police stopped killing crazy people crazy people could get help (or commit suicide themselves) instead of death by cop with all the risks that brings to police officers.”

    Utterly insulting, effed-up thinking. The PG County cops were AMBUSHED. The PWCPD cops were AMBUSHED. Got it? Are you happy that two cops in two counties are now dead, but the shooters are still alive so they can get “help”? UFB.

    1. I am inclined to agree, Emma. The other wounded also have life-altering injuries. All because of “crazy” people.

      Sorry, I am thinking Cujo now.

    2. When Emma says AMBUSHED, I am here to validate what she is saying. She KNOWS.

  11. Wolve

    From what I have heard, the dead officer, a young narco detective in plain clothes arriving to visit a station friend, purposely drew the attention of the shooter to himself, apparently to give the responding station officers time to get into position to bring down the shooter. He may not have had the time or opportunity to signal to his fellow officers that he was one of them and might have been mistaken for a shooter himself. Although I was not a witness to these events, I see the possibility of this young man having done something sort of the equivalent of throwing himself on a grenade to save his buddies.

    1. It sounds that way. Regardless, the shooter is the cause of his death. I don’t care whose bullet hit him. That is sort of irrelevant to me. The brothers are also guilty of his death.

  12. Lyssa

    @Emma – Amen and amen and amen.

    Hartford County 2/10/16 AMBUSH 2 dead
    PWC – 2/27/16 AMBUSH 1 dead, 1 injured, 1 critically injured not likely to return
    PG – 3/13/16 AMBUSH 1 dead

    Thousands of officers absorbing this in our area in the past 32 days. This is no time for lectures from anyone on any topic. All these experts….

  13. Ed Myers

    We want fewer cops dead and also fewer people killed by cops. The more that we encourage a culture of guns as a solution the more crazy people will engage police in a final blaze of infamy. If police don’t play the shootout game this particular “reality tv” episode would not have occurred.

    We don’t have non-lethal devices because gun activists viciously object whenever someone tries to propose alternatives. I think that is because we have societal bias. Very few police get killed (especially compared to other jobs) and we don’t mind when police kill others because few are sympathetic to the plight of mental illness victims.

  14. Lyssa

    Like those victims that obtain weapons and shoot up movie theaters or kindergarten classrooms?

  15. @Ed Myers

    Ed, if someone is shooting at everyone in a police station, just what do you expect the cops to do, turn the other cheek?

    I feel badly for the mentally ill unless they are harming others, then all bets are off. I don’t have time for a psych evaluation and neither does anyone else.

  16. Emma

    @Ed Myers Wow, you really are just a troll, aren’t you?

  17. George S. Harris

    Skip all the stuff about “heroically drew Ford’s fire”-I keep wondering if the two “on duty” officers simply saw another black guy with a gun and “instinctively” fired at him.

    1. I think when you are under fire, the instinct is to fire back. I expect the guy whose bullet killed officer Colson probably feels badly enough without a pile on. The shooter killed Officer Colson. Whose bullet is sort of immaterial.

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