A crash during a pursuit on Interstate 95
Shortly before noon, District 6 Officer Adrian Morris and his partner were called to the scene of a theft from a vehicle at a in the 6600 block of Sandy Spring Road in Laurel, county police said.
According to police, eyewitnesses told Morris and his partner that two suspects in a silver Acura TL unsuccessfully tried to open the victim's car doors, before fleeing from the scene. While the officers investigated the crime and talked to other witnesses, an Shell employee noticed that the suspects had returned in the Acura.
The officers began pursuing the vehicle and caught up with the suspects on I-95, officials said. They called into dispatch, but shortly thereafter, the police car left the roadway near the Powder Mill Road exit and crashed into a ditch. Morris was ejected from the vehicle.
Morris, 23, was pronounced dead at Prince George's Hospital Center. His partner, whose name was not release, was released from the hospital Monday after suffering minor injuries.
District 6 officers were familiar with Morris, who joined the county police after volunteering as a Police Explorer for five years.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he was raised in Laurel and became a U.S. citizen in 2009. He was a 2 and 1/2 year veteran of the police department.
Morris was a 2007 graduate of in Greenbelt. After fulfilling his dream of becoming a police officer, officials said he volunteered with the Police Explorers as an advisor and mentor.
“Police Officer Morris represented the very best that our agency has to offer,” Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw said. “He wanted to be a Prince George’s County police officer from a very young age, and it showed in all of his interactions with the community.”
County officials and other police agencies have been sharing their condolences since Monday afternoon with Morris's family, friends and his fellow officers.
"Condolences go out to PG Cty Police family on loss of officer who was senselessly killed putting his life on the line for others @PGPDNews," Baltimore City Police tweeted.
County Executive Rushern Baker, who attended a press conference on the incident earlier in the day, said it was a "very sad day for the Prince George’s County government and our public safety community."
"On behalf of the nearly 863,000 residents, I commend these officers for their courage and commitment to the people of Prince George’s County," Baker said. "We are blessed to have such dedicated men and women of valor serving our communities.”
Prince George's State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks also added her condolences in a statement:
“Our hearts go out to the family of this heroic officer and my thoughts and prayers are with his family. Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect us from harm and we will be eternally grateful for the sacrifice this officer made for the citizens of Prince George’s County.”
Police continue to investigate how the police cruiser left the roadway. One eyewitness, Ernesto Vasquez, told WJLA that he believed the Acura's driver intentionally cut-off the marked cruiser.
Crime Solvers, Inc. has offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the motorist who contributed to the death of Morris.