Officer Tried to Use Pepper Spray Before Shooting Man

The man shot by a Montgomery County police officer was combative and the officer tried to use pepper spray on the man before opening fire, according to a police statement released Tuesday.

The officer, two-year veteran Anand Badgujar, shot and killed the man, whom police identified as Robert Lawrence White, 41, of the 300 block of Dearborn Avenue in Silver Spring. Police said Tuesday evening that it didn’t appear that White was armed.

The incident occurred about 2:15 p.m. Monday on Three Oaks Drive, not far from Highland View Elementary School and Sligo-Bennington Neighborhood Park.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger and investigators have reviewed the footage from the officer’s body-worn camera as well as spoke to an eyewitness, the statement says. Police also reviewed the footage from the body-worn camera of a second officer who assisted Badgujar, police said.

Badgujar has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues. He had been assigned to the Patrol Division and worked at the Silver Spring police district station.

Police said the footage, as well as the eyewitness statement, reveal:

  • White became combative after Badgujar tried to speak with him. White then assaulted Badgujar.
  • Badgujar tried to use pepper spray on 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 turned around and began approaching the officer. As he got closer, he began running at Badgujar; 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 other rounds. Police were not specific about how Badgujar was assaulted. Capt. Paul Starks said White used his hands and body to assault the officer.
  • White fell and was secured. Other responding officers provided medical assistance to him until Fire and Rescue personnel arrived.

Once Major Crimes detectives complete this investigation, the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office will review their findings to determine whether Badgujar acted within the law and if the circumstances of the case need to be brought before a grand jury. The department, in consultation with the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office, will release the video once the criminal case is completed.

The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office have an agreement that when an officer-involved shooting involving injury or death occurs in one county, the other county’s state’s attorney’s office will review the event.

County Council President Hans Riemer expressed concern about the death of Robert Lawrence White.

“I want to assure the public that all nine councilmembers are paying close attention to the officer-involved shooting that occurred yesterday,” Riemer said. “We have requested the body camera footage that is part of the ongoing investigation.  Anyone with information regarding this shooting is asked to contact the Major Crimes Division and may remain anonymous.”

The council also said the Internal Affairs Division of the police department will conduct a personnel investigation to see if there was any officer misconduct in this case.

Police said the shooting remains an ongoing investigation. As information is confirmed it will be released to the public.  Anyone with information regarding this shooting is asked to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

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