Officer Dies After Laurel Shootout


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nico
June 21, 2005, 11:24 PM
This happened right outside my girlfriend's neighborhood, about 5 minutes from my house. :(

http://www.nbc4.com/news/4634160/detail.html#

LAUREL, Md. -- An undercover Prince George's County police officer who was shot after a traffic stop Tuesday died of his injuries following surgery for his wounds.

Officer Shot

Cpl. Steve Gaughan, 41, a 15-year veteran of the force, was working with the Special Investigations Unit when he was mortally wounded by a suspect who bolted from a vehicle.

"Officer Gaughan pursued the suspect and at some point behind the building there were gunshots fired and the officer was struck," said Maj. Thomas P. Connolly, Jr., Gaughan's commander. Gaughan, who was wearing body armor, was struck at least twice, in the arm and in the abdomen.

"He gave his life for the people of this county," said Connolly, who described Gaughan as a dedicated police officer who chased bad guys and caught them.

"He is a hero. And I hope all the people in the county understand that," said Connolly.

Gaughan and three other officers attempted to pull over a vehicle on Route 197 near South Laurel Drive around 11 a.m. The car pulled into an apartment complex parking lot, and as three suspects bolted from the vehicle, one of them opened fire.

"There was a lot of shooting back and forth, and people were hiding behind walls trying not to get shot," said Chris Goldsborough, who witnessed the incident.

Lance Cpl. William Waddell, a U.S. Marine, was at work in Washington, D.C., when his wife called to say police commandeered their apartment for a stakeout.

"She saw everything. She heard shots. She saw a guy go down, she saw people running. She called the police, but apparently they were already involved," Waddell said. His wife, Kia, and their children, ages 4 years and 2 months, were not hurt.

One suspect who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire remained in critical condition at Prince George's County Hospital Center in Cheverly. Two other suspects were taken into custody at the scene, including one who surrendered to police after a two hour standoff in the apartment complex. The other was caught outside.

Police declined to be specific about what made officers suspicious enough to stop the car. However, they did say the unit has done considerable narcotics work and other types of surveillance.

"We will miss him dearly," said Police Chief Melvin C. High, who called Gaughan "one of America's finest."

"We have a number of people that are driving around with guns and are willing to shoot not only officers, but our citizens," Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson said at the hospital.

Maybe if <they> didn't prosecute people who shoot back, there'd be fewer of these dirtbags walking the streets :fire:

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Norton
June 22, 2005, 07:54 AM
First things first....prayers to this officer's family.

And now....to Mr. Jack Johnson, the incompetent County Executive of Prince George's County:

Maybe you should be focusing on the rampant corruption in your county government and school system rather than using the tragedy of this brave officer's death to advance your personal agenda for disarming the few law abiding citizens left in your crime ridden county.

AK-74me
June 22, 2005, 07:17 PM
This one really is too bad, officer seemed like a really great guy. Too bad he wasn't wearing a vest it seems as though it certainly would of saved his life.

Prince Geroges county is just a complete S#%* hole! What is that like the 80th murder in the county this year. And to think my dad grew up there and lived there in Suitland all the way up into the early 70's. I am sure am glad he got out of there before I was born.

Malone LaVeigh
June 22, 2005, 07:31 PM
Another tragic and unnecessary statistic of the glorious War on (some) Drugs.

chaim
June 22, 2005, 08:26 PM
Rt 197? Happened about 15-20min from my house. I'm a 5 min jump to I-95 (Columbia) and from there 5-10min to Rt 197.

PG County generally, and Laurel specifically is an interesting area. PG County is one of the richest counties in America (and I think it is the richest predominately African-American jurisdiction in the US), yet it also has one of the highest violent crime rates in the US. Laurel has an interesting combination of trailer parks, cheap and beat up old houses and apts, $800/mo new apts, $250K new condos, $200-300K townhouses, and $500K and up new single family homes. Very interesting area.

This article is one more proof we need CCW here, and these kinds of events are likely to be used as one more excuse to further limit the rights of law abiding MD citizens to own guns.

Joey2
June 23, 2005, 12:28 AM
Why was an undercover policeman doing traffic stops? Someone in civilian cloths tries to stop me would get "some resistance".

peacefuljeffrey
June 23, 2005, 02:37 AM
This one really is too bad, officer seemed like a really great guy. Too bad he wasn't wearing a vest it seems as though it certainly would of saved his life.

AK, the story as quoted said he WAS wearing a vest.

-Jeffrey

AK-74me
June 23, 2005, 08:03 AM
Peaceful Jeffery, the first reports out were that he was wearing a vest but living in the area where it happend I get to hear more news about than you all. They discovered after the fact, that he in fact was not wearing his vest and he died from a .40 cal bullet wound center mass.

Yeah he was in plain clothes but the shooter knew he was a cop. They had a history before and knew each other. That is why the traffic stop was initated, first the SUV rolls by them and they see the bad guy (Billet is his name) and recognize him, he has had a history since 2001 with these officers and had been arrested atleast 3 times in that period. As they drive by Billet throws something out the window, that is when they stop his vehicle. He then jumps out as the vehicle stops and starts firing at police.

shrpshn
June 23, 2005, 09:46 PM
Joey 2

"Why was an undercover policeman doing traffic stops? Someone in civilian cloths tries to stop me would get "some resistance"."

One local press account states that stop was initiated by marked police vehicle at request of the under covers.

John

nico
June 24, 2005, 01:12 AM
PG County is one of the richest counties in America (and I think it is the richest predominately African-American jurisdiction in the US), yet it also has one of the highest violent crime rates in the US. Laurel has an interesting combination of trailer parks, cheap and beat up old houses and apts, $800/mo new apts, $250K new condos, $200-300K townhouses, and $500K and up new single family homes. Very interesting area.
yup. We have section 8 apartments almost literally across the street from houses that started in the mid $300s when they were built under 5 years ago. The place where this happened is one of those areas. My girlfriend's next door neighbors just sold their house for $370k and some new houses in the neighborhood probably cost around $500k (they'd be MUCH more in any other county).

Over the last 10 years or so we've noticed a huge decline in the type of people living around here. When my parents and I moved in 21 years ago (I was 1 year old), Laurel was a middle class suburb with a pretty low crime rate. But that has changed over the last few years. A lot of houses are being bought by people who have no regard for the actions of their children (I almost hit a 12 year old girl on a dirtbike a week ago because she was on the street at 11:30pm without any reflectors or safety equipment) who let them become juvenile delinquents (our Suburban was stolen last year by a kid who lives a couple blocks away and a few friends of his). Alot of other houses are bought to be used as rental properties whose tenants are generally groups of adults with no respect for the property (a drug house was busted a block from me a couple years ago).

Then, in the middle of this are people who bought a house here because houses are so much cheaper in PG county than in other counties and those of us who can't wait to get the hell out of here. I'm stuck here for another 4 years, but as soon as I get out of school I'll be moving to a more civilized part of the state and I'm pretty sure my parents will be too.

I'm sure I sound very cynical, but living here has made me completely against any form of government-subsidized housing. I've seen firsthand the way people treat property when it's given to them and they're not accountable for it and it disgusts me to see what this process has done to my town.

AK-74me
June 25, 2005, 10:02 AM
My bother in law is a former cop in PG, in clinton most of his time and my good friend is a fireman in District Heights. I could tell you some good stories I get from them, many are almost unbelieveable they are so ridiculous sometimes.

anapex
June 25, 2005, 07:50 PM
Lance Cpl. William Waddell, a U.S. Marine, was at work in Washington, D.C., when his wife called to say police commandeered their apartment for a stakeout.

So how are they allowed to commandeer an already occupied apartment?

chaim
June 26, 2005, 06:26 AM
We have section 8 apartments almost literally across the street from houses that started in the mid $300s when they were built under 5 years ago.
Over the last 10 years or so we've noticed a huge decline in the type of people living around here
I've seen firsthand the way people treat property when it's given to them and they're not accountable for it and it disgusts me to see what this process has done to my town.



Yeah, I know how that is. I remember nearly a decade ago when Baltimore City decided it would be a good idea to tear down the projects and move everyone out to the 'burbs with vouchers.

Several of them ended up in 'burbs like mine. Columbia is in Howard County, MD, an even richer area than PG (I think we are in the top 5 by per capita income in the US). New housing in this county now pretty much starts around $500K for a townhouse. In the older neighborhoods like mine a single family house can still be had around $400K. However, there are apartment complexes just about 1/2-1 mile down the road from my parents home that I can't afford (on a 1BR, $800-900/mo rent for those of us who can pay full rent) that are about 60% section 8 vouchers. Several of the "older" Columbia neighborhoods have the same situation (the newer, richer, neighborhoods got rid of the prior requirement to have "affordable" housing in each neighborhood so the problems aren't concentrated in one spot) and all now have much greater crime problems than they ever did (of course, other than some property crime, it still isn't bad).

Baltimore City's experiment, on the backs of surrounding counties, has failed. Moving section 8 to nicer areas hasn't caused the tenants to respect their apartments and the law any more. It has simply moved the problems to the counties, subjected us to more crime, and lowered property values (my parents' home is worth around $400K, a similar house in a nearly identical neighborhood less than 2 miles away, but further from section 8 housing, is worth about $200K more).

nico
June 26, 2005, 06:01 PM
Chaim, you just explained exactly why, when I buy a house, I want it to be in the rural part of Howard, or just into Carroll county. MUCH fewer apartments, and far enough from the city that (hopefully), I won't have to worry about that kind of crap for a while.

Norton
June 26, 2005, 07:13 PM
nico,

Don't forget that AA County, as a whole, presents good value when purchasing a home and still is pretty good as far as the quality of life goes. Believe it or not, there are a lot of really nice homes in the Annapolis area that are within the range of most mortals' budget.

Besides, we'd love to add another shooter to the AA THR contingent :D

GRB
June 26, 2005, 07:32 PM
It is sad how many times undercover officers choose not to wear body armor. The reason is usually that they feel their undercover role will be jeopardized if they do so. Remember these are not "plain clothes officers" per se, this guy was "undercover". While both plain clothes officers and underovers wear plain clothing, the difference in their job is vast. An undercover is playing the role of someone, other than cop and often a bad guy (no wise cracks please), A run of the mill plain clothes officer is still acting as a cop and is not in an undercover role such as pretending to be a bad guy.

So how are they allowed to commandeer an already occupied apartment?They select one that overlooks the area in whcih the bad guys are holed up. Then they knock on the door and tell the occupants they have to leave because they are in danger. Then they go in an set up a command post. Really quite simple. No problem for the police in an instance of exigent circumstances. Sometimes they even ask permission and it is usually given. That is most times

Before anyone says, wait a minute this woman saw it all sdo she must stayed in her apartment; while possible that she remained in the apartment, I sort of doubt it because everything she saw she saw as described in the article she saw before she called the police. Why would she call them if they were already in her apartment. Chances are they thought of using her apartment based upon her calling in her observations - figuring she had a good vantage point. Chances are they also made her and the children vacate or at least go to a room away from any possible line of fire from outside. Hopefully something was done to make sure they were out of harm's way.

My thoughts and prayers are with the officer's family, friends and fellow officers.

All the best,
Glenn B

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