In a tragic development to an already heart-wrenching story, it is now known that Maryland Police officer Jacai Colson was killed by deliberate friendly fire while undercover wearing plain clothes and driving an unmarked vehicle. Colson's fellow cop, who pulled the trigger on him during a shootout in which three brothers opened fire on a precinct, says Colson looked like a suspect out of uniform.
While no overt malice is suspected in Colson's death, the latest developments certainly add an extra dimension of tragedy, and possible racial undertones, to the story.
Prince George's County police Chief Hank Stawinski confirms "the shot that struck and killed Detective Colson was deliberately aimed at him by another police officer."
He continued by putting emphasis on how chaotic the series of events that lead to Colson's death was. Colson was in plain clothes with no bulletproof vest when he exited his unmarked car to confront the the gunmen that were shooting at the police station. Three police exited the station, and it is believed that the officers thought Colson was attacking alongside the gunmen.
"The environment was incredibly chaotic. We had officers under fire immediately, trying to seek cover," Stawinski said. "There's no intention, as I have seen the facts and as they have been explained to me, to indicate any malice or anything along those lines."
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89 President John Teletchea said Colson was a "brother, friend, police officer, and a hero — not only to the Prince George's County Police Department, but to every citizen in Prince George's County." He remembered Colson fondly, "Jacai could light up a room. He lit up everybody's life he touched."
"He made a decision several years ago to make a difference in the world when he joined the Prince George's County Police Department. He made a difference every day he was here, and he made the difference and saved lives yesterday."
Colson would have turned 29 this week, and will be remembered by family, friends and colleagues for his courage and selfelessness.
(Photo: Prince George's County Police Department)