Fatal Police-Involved Shooting Grows Divide Between Cops and Ward 8 Residents
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Police in the District are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left one person dead early Tuesday morning in Southeast.
The incident occurred shortly after 3 a.m. on Sheridan Road near Stanton Road, police say.
Officials say the suspect was shot twice and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police identified the man as 34-year-old Cleman Richerd Sweptson Jr.
Police officials say the officer spotted Sweptson, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, acting erratically on his bike. When the officer ordered Sweptson to get on the sidewalk, he pulled a gun and fired at the officer, causing the officer to return fire, police said.
The officer was not injured in the shooting. Police say that a handgun was recovered at the scene.
The department’s internal affairs division is investigating the shooting.
Family and friends, assuming the identity of the man killed, congregated near the shooting scene for hours awaiting confirmation of his name. Tensions escalated as questions remained unanswered while police investigated with virtually no interaction with onlookers.
“I think what they’re doing is covering the mistake they made,” one person on the scene told WNEW’s Kevin Patrick.
Neighborhood commissioner Natalie Williams says Swepston wasn’t known to carry a gun and did not have a criminal record. Numerous neighborhood residents on the scene said he was actually known to carry a radio when he would ride his bike, not a weapon.
Williams says the lack of communication and inconsistencies between the police account of the shooting and Sweptson’s character only further the divide between authorities and Ward 8 residents.
A woman identifying herself as Sweptson’s mother said he had two children.
The officer’s identity has not been made public.