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Maryland Officer Jacai Colson Died from Friendly Fire

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A 28-year-old officer from Prince George's County, Maryland, was shot and killed on March 13, 2016 after a suspect opened fire on a police station. The fallen officer has been identified as Jacai Colson, a four-year veteran of the department. Colson would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week. Two suspects were arrested.

A 28-year-old officer from Prince George’s County, Maryland, was shot and killed on March 13, 2016 after a suspect opened fire on a police station. The fallen officer has been identified as Jacai Colson, a four-year veteran of the department. Colson would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week. Two suspects were arrested.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Maryland (CNN)–

The Maryland officer who died after a gunman opened fire on a police station Sunday was struck by friendly fire.

An autopsy on Jacai Colson showed he was “inadvertently shot by a fellow responding officer during the gunbattle,” police said a day after the attack.

They identified the suspect who shot at the building as 22-year-old Michael Ford. He is in custody and remains hospitalized. His brothers, Elijah Ford and Malik Ford, are also in custody.

All three will be charged with second-degree murder, six counts of attempted first-degree murder, nine counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and additional charges, according to police.

Authorities do not believe Michael Ford expected to survive. He dictated his last will and testament immediately before the shooting, police said. Ford’s injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Colson, a four-year veteran of the Prince George’s County Police Department, would have celebrated his 29th birthday this week.

“It wasn’t about anything. This man launched an attack on a police station,” Chief Hank Stawinski said about the suspect Sunday. “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.”

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.

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 unprovoked and unprecedented.

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.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch similarly mourned the officer’s death, and called shooting at the building a “heinous act of violence and a cowardly crime.”

“His tragic loss is a reminder of the threats that public safety officers face every day, and the dangers that they bravely confront, in every jurisdiction across the country. The Department of Justice will offer any possible aid to the Prince George’s County community as they investigate this terrible crime, and we will continue to do all that we can to protect and support our officers and hold wrongdoers accountable,” she said.