Prosecutors believe a Virginia man intentionally plowed through a busy nightlife district Thursday night aiming his white pickup truck at police with the intent to kill.
The Washington Post reports the suspect also made anti-police statements the day before his crimes.
On the judge’s order, suspect Brandon Figures-Mormon, 22, of Disputanta, Va., is being held without the possibility of release after the alleged attack in Adams Morgan district injured two police officers and a city worker.
According to the Washington Post, prosecutors said Figures-Mormon advocated killing law enforcement, and in the past told someone “all police need to die.”
“He made an affirmative choice to run down the police officers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John B. Timmer said in court on Saturday during Figures-Mormon’s first court appearance.
Figures-Mormon’s public defender said there is no evidence he intended to kill and that he was simply intoxicated.
“What we don’t have is any intent on his part to hit these individuals,” said Jacqueline Cadman, who argued he should be released on his own recognizance. “There is absolutely no intent here.”
According to the Washington Post, Figures-Mormon is charged with assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless driving and other related charges in the incident that left two police officers hospitalized and one city worker injured. One of the police officers has since been released from the hospital, D.C. police said Saturday. The other remains in critical but stable condition.
Police describe the scene leading up to the assault.
The Washington Post reports officers along the stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants along 18th Street near Belmont Road were directing traffic backed up behind a stopped city bus at around 9 p.m. Thursday, with Figures-Mormon and a passenger among the line of cars in a Dodge Ram, police said.
Figures-Morman then swerved out of the queue, sped up the median and barreled toward two uniformed officers, according to police and court documents. Witnesses reported the truck struck the officers and continued on to hit a uniformed D.C. Department of Transportation employee, charging documents state, the Washington Post reports.
The witnesses also reported, according to the Washington Post, Figures-Morman did not stop after hitting the third victim — and instead continued driving through a red light down the street until crashing into a sanitation truck.
The Washington Post reports, nobody was killed, but says three officers on the city’s nightlife detail were hurt in the chaos.
Officer Alen Bukvic was in critical but stable condition. He is expected to remain in the hospital for at least another week, according to court records. Officer Richard R. Duranne suffered a fractured nose, sprained right ankle and burns and was released from the hospital after one day. And City Transportation Department officer Pamela Ann Johnson was injured but treated at a hospital then released.
Police tell the Washington Post, after taking Figures-Mormon into custody, investigators found a military-style weapon described as the Romanian version of the AK-47 in the truck’s backseat.
Investigators said two and a half years ago, Figures-Morman “began making negative comments about police officers to the effect of “all police need to die” and advocating killing police officers on Snapchat as recently as Wednesday, charging documents state.
His defense argues the contrary claiming there’s no evidence Figures-Morman made any anti-police statements right before striking the officers and the sentiments he allegedly made are from two years ago, said Cadman, the defense lawyer.
Judge Kimberley Knowles said at Saturday’s court hearing there is evidence — including Metrobus video and several witness statements — that Figures-Morman “directly aimed” at the officers and had ample opportunity to stop his car before hitting others but kept charging ahead, reports the Washington Post.
Knowles said before ordering him to appear in court again June 20, “He is a danger to the community.”
The Washington Post reports in 2014, Figures-Morman was convicted of assault, a count reduced from an initial charge of assaulting a police officer.
Figures-Morman was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 after a year of service. According to the Washington Post, military authorities said the “character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps’ expectations and standards.”
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