UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — A gunman who attacked a Maryland police station created a “combat zone” that led to an officer mistakenly killing an undercover detective, a prosecutor said Thursday in urging a jury to convict the gunman of murder for starting the videotaped shootout.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Friday to decide if Michael Ford is guilty of second-degree murder and other charges in the friendly-fire shooting death of Prince George’s County police detective Jacai Colson in March 2016.
Ford, 25, testified this week that he opened fire on the station because he wanted police to kill him and didn’t intend for anyone else to be harmed.
But county prosecutor Joseph Ruddy said Ford had gone on a “combat mission.”
“That was no suicide mission. That was a mission to kill cops,” Ruddy said in the trial’s closing arguments.
Officer Taylor Krauss mistook his fellow officer for a threat and shot Colson after the detective exchanged gunfire with Ford, authorities say. Krauss testified that he never saw Colson hold up a badge or heard him identify himself as a police officer before shooting him once in the chest.
Ford’s two younger brothers used their cellphones to record the attack, which lasted nearly four minutes.
Ford, who was wounded in the shootout, fired 23 shots from a handgun, according to prosecutors. He didn’t hit anyone, but his bullets struck two passing cars and an ambulance.
“It was an attack on humanity,” Ruddy said.
Ford’s attorney, Antoini Jones, said it is “undisputed” that Ford was on the ground and had been “neutralized” before Krauss fired the shot that killed Colson.
Jones said Ford was having “suicidal thoughts” and had held a gun to his head earlier that day. But he didn’t have the “wherewithal” to kill himself, so he tried to goad police into killing him instead, his lawyer said.
“If (he) was charged with attempted suicide, he would be guilty of that,” Jones said.
A judge ruled before trial that Ford couldn’t present an insanity defense despite his serious mental health issues.
Ford’s two younger brothers recorded cellphone videos of the ambush after dropping him off at the station in Landover, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
One of the videos shows Ford screaming obscenities and shouting, “Do something!” in between shots.
A police detective testified in 2016 that Ford’s brothers agreed to film the shooting so the video could be sent to a website known for posting users’ violent videos.
His brothers, Malik and Elijah, pleaded guilty to related charges and await sentencing hearings.
Ruddy said Ford wanted his brothers to film the attack “to show everybody how badass he was.” Ford testified he didn’t know they were recording.
A grand jury declined to indict Krauss on any charges related to Colson’s shooting.
Ford is black and so was Colson. Krauss is white.
Colson and Krauss had worked in the narcotics unit together and sat at connecting desks.
Colson was a four-year veteran of the department and 28-year-old native of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania.
Ruddy called him a hero for confronting Ford.
“He was brave, and it cost him his life,” he added.
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