Police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting in a Silver Spring townhome community on Monday. Credit: Jana Owens

Montgomery County authorities say the 41-year-old man who was fatally shot by a police officer in Silver Spring on Monday afternoon had charged the patrolman, knocked him to the ground and assaulted him.

The officer, Anand Badgujar, a two-year veteran of the Montgomery County Department of Police, fired multiple shots at the unarmed African-American man, identified as Robert Lawrence White of Silver Spring. Badgujar had come upon White in a townhome community in the 9200 block of Three Oaks Drive at about 2:14 p.m. and began investigating him as a suspicious person. White became combative when approached by the officer, and a physical struggle ensued, according to police. 

Authorities on Tuesday released the following narrative of the encounter based on footage from body cameras worn by Badgujar and another officer and an eyewitness statement:

  • As the officer attempted to speak with Mr. White, he became combative and assaulted the officer.
  • The officer attempted to pepper spray White.
  • Over the course of the next minute, the officer requested assistance and kept White in his sight.
  • As White walked on Three Oaks Drive away from the officer, the officer went to his cruiser to turn off the ignition.
  • At this point White began approaching the officer and as he got closer, began running at the officer; the officer back-pedaled, and White knocked him down as the officer discharged his weapon.
  • White fell, got up, stood over the officer who was still on the ground, and continued to assault the officer, at which time the officer fired additional rounds.
  • White fell and was secured. Additional responding officers provided medical assistance to him until Fire and Rescue personnel arrived.

The entire interaction lasted only a minute or two, Montgomery County police Chief Tom Manger said Monday night.

A couple minutes later, another officer who’d arrived to help Badgujar radioed that shots had been fired and emergency medical assistance was needed, police reported. The officers provided first aid to the injured man.

White, who lived in the 300 block of Dearborn Avenue about a mile from the shooting, died after being taken to a local hospital.

Badgujar, a patrol officer of Indian descent who is assigned to the police department’s Third District station in Silver Spring, has been placed on administrative leave as is protocol, according to authorities. Before becoming a Montgomery County officer, he worked at the Baltimore Police Department from 2011 to 2016, leaving the agency as a sergeant.

Jana Owens, whose home is next to the parking lot where the shooting happened, said she was working in an upstairs bedroom on Monday afternoon when she heard loud yelling outside and her dogs started barking. She then heard several gunshots, she wrote in a Facebook message. She looked outside and saw a police car pull up and an officer rush from the cruiser to the injured person lying on the pavement. A car was blocking her view of the person, for the most part, but she saw officers run over and start providing aid. Owens said she could see them pumping the man’s chest and heard them say things like, “Stay with us.”

An ambulance picked up the injured man several minutes later, she said.

Witnesses in the neighborhood reported hearing multiple shots fired, although the number differs depending on the account. Paul Dery, who lives in the neighborhood, counted eight gunshots and noticed pauses after the first and third rounds. Ella Robinson, 15, said she heard about six, while Owens said she wasn’t sure of the number of shots. She remembers a rapid series of shots and a pause followed by one more shot.

Detectives are investigating the shooting and once it’s complete, they will turn the results over to the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for review and to decide whether the officer should be charged, according to police. The department will work with the Howard County prosecutors to release the video once the criminal case is closed, a news release stated.

Under an established agreement, prosecutors in Howard County review Montgomery County officer-involved shootings resulting in death or injury and Montgomery County prosecutors evaluate police-involved shootings that happen in Howard County.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.