HYATTSVILLE — Police responded to a call regarding an armed suspect at a cafe in Hyattsville and, after trying to de-escalate the situation, the confrontation resulted in the suspect being shot by six police officers on Sept. 26.
According to Hyattsville Police Chief Amal Awad, officers responded to a call at approximately 7:14 a.m. that morning at the intersection of East-West Highway and Belcrest Drive. They arrived on the scene at 7:18 a.m. and engaged with the suspect, who was armed with two knives, in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
The suspect is believed to be the same person the Hyattsville Police Department was called for at the same cafe for assaulting an employee with a metal pole. In that incident, he was gone before the police arrived at the scene, Awad said.
The Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) later identified the suspect as 49-year-old Leonard Shand whose last known residence was in New Carrollton.
Over the course of about 30 minutes, Hyattsville officers, assisted by members of PGPD and Mount Rainier Police Department, walked with the armed suspect toward Toledo Terrace while officers tried to negotiate with him and keep pedestrians away.
“Officer’s attempted on a number of occasions to use non-lethal force to get this person to drop his weapons and comply with an arrest,” Awad said.
During the confrontation, officers deployed tasers on three separate occasions, pepper spray, a flashbang and a non-lethal shotgun to subdue the suspect but they had no effect, Awad said. At some point, the suspect said he “embraces death” and threatened to harm the Hyattsville Police Department supervisor who carried only the non-lethal shotgun.
As the suspect charged the supervisor with his knives, six officers deployed their firearms leaving the suspect dead.
PGPD Chief Hank Stawinski commended the police officers for their work in trying to de-escalate the situation.
“The city of Hyattsville officers were doing a remarkably good job being diligent as this plays out over the course of a half an hour trying to detain this individual,” Stawinski said.
While Stawinski complimented the police on their work during the confrontation, the investigation is still not over. The police department will be reviewing footage from the body cameras and car cameras of the officers to be able to say for sure the order in which the shots occurred.
“We are less than four hours since this,” said PGPD Media Relations Division Director Jennifer Donelan. “We have to look at the dashcam video, the body cam video, really closely. We have to have trained investigators be able to say this hit first, this hit second, this hit third.”
No civilians were harmed throughout the confrontation although Ridgecrest Elementary School in Chillum was placed on lockdown during the incident. No students or staff were affected, PGPD officials said.