Three teen boys have been charged with attempted murder following a shooting at a Montgomery County police cruiser early Thursday morning in Bethesda.

The boys, all 16-year-olds from Washington, D.C., have each been charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault and first-degree burglary, Police Chief Marcus Jones told reporters Thursday afternoon. Bethesda Beat does not publish the names of juveniles who are charged with crimes.

Around 1:20 a.m. Thursday, special assignment team officers got a call for an attempted burglary in the 6000 block of Johnson Avenue, Jones said. When they got there, they saw that a silver BMW was leaving the area at a “high rate of speed.”

“As the officers were following the suspect vehicle, the driver of the SUV came to an abrupt stop, causing the officers to swerve in order to avoid hitting that particular vehicle. That’s when an occupant inside of the BMW began to shoot at the officers, striking the officers’ vehicle multiple times,” Jones said.

Officers then pursued the BMW up Wisconsin Avenue through downtown Bethesda, Jones said. The pursuit ended at an off-ramp to I-495, where the BMW driver lost control and crashed, Jones said. 

Two of the teens were taken into custody immediately, and the third was taken into custody with the help of Prince George’s County police.

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Jones said one bullet went into a compartment in the police cruiser, and another struck the headrest of the passenger seat.

“What happened early this morning clearly could have ended tragically, and the fact that these three suspects are all juveniles is simply disturbing,” he said.

State’s Attorney John McCarthy said that all three boys are being charged as adults – a requirement under state law.

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Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com