PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Maryland -- A 28-year-old officer from Prince George's County, Maryland, was shot and killed Sunday after a suspect opened fire on a police station, authorities said. Chief Hank Stawinski told reporters that the suspect launched an unprovoked attack. Officers returned fire.
During the exchange, the suspect was wounded, Stawinski said. He is expected to survive. A second suspect was also arrested.
The chief identified the fallen officer as Jacai Colson, a four-year veteran of the department. Colson would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week.
Colson attended and played football for Randolph–Macon College in Ashland, according to his Facebook page.
"He was a great kid," Randolph-Macon College football coach Pedro Arruza told the Washington Post. "A really respectful kid and just a high-character young man. He treated everyone with respect. . . . To be honest, he wasn’t a great player, but he was a really great person."
According to Stawinski, the suspect opened fire on the first officer he saw. Other officers then became aware of what was happening and returned fire.
"It wasn't about anything. This man launched an attack on a police station, " the chief said about the suspect. "Officers weren't in the process of apprehending him or engaging him in any way. They were going about their business on a Sunday afternoon, at their home, when they were attacked."
Colson was assigned to the department's Narcotic Enforcement Division and had worked as an undercover officer -- though that had nothing to do with his killing, Stawinski said.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Teletchea described the attack as unwarranted, unprovoked, unprecedented and unacceptable.
He remembered Colson as someone with an infectious smile and tremendous personality.
"He was a police officer who was a real cop's cop. He didn't shy away from any calls. He never shirked his responsibility. He was always working and he was always there for his fellow brothers and sisters," Teletchea said.
He added: "Personally, he was a very close friend of mine. I'm going to miss him dearly."
In a statement, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he was "shocked and saddened" by Colson's killing. He ordered that flags fly at half-staff in his memory.