A Montgomery County police officer fatally shot an unarmed man Monday in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Robert Lawrence White, 41, was pepper sprayed and shot multiple times by 2-year veteran officer Anand Badgujar, reported The Washington Post.
“There’s no indication that the man had a weapon,” Montgomery County police Chief Tom Manger responded when asked at a news conference if the victim was armed.
Regina Thomas, a longtime family friend, told Fox 5 that White, who usually walked through the area and nearby neighborhoods to get around, may have been suffering from mental illness or a disability.
At 2:14 p.m. Monday, Badgujar was in the area after finishing another call for service when he saw what he called a “suspicious” African-American man in the 9200 block of Three Oaks Drive, Manger said.
The officer talked to the “suspicious” man, but he allegedly became combative. Police say the content of the conversation is unclear, but police are allegedly investigating why the officer approached him in the first place.
On Tuesday evening, dozens gathered in downtown Silver Spring to protest the shooting and to demand the release of the police body camera footage, which has not yet been released.
The Post reported the officer pepper sprayed White, who then walked away as Badgujar called for backup and went to his cruiser to turn off the ignition.
Montgomery police said in a statement, “At this point White began approaching the officer and as he got closer, began running at the officer,” the statement continues, saying the “officer backpedaled, and White knocked him down as the officer discharged his weapon.”
White fell down after being shot, but police say the man got back up and “continued to assault the officer,” so Badgujar fired additional rounds.
White was shot multiple times, and was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.
Despite the alleged combative behavior that apparently justified homicide to the officer, Badgujar was not injured.
Badgujar has been placed on administrative leave.