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Thursday, March 8, 2012

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District Man Sentenced to 14-Year Prison Term
For Firing Gunshots at Two MPD Officers
- Officers Had Responded to Call About a Man With a Gun -

     WASHINGTON - Romando Morris, 20, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for shooting at two Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers in an incident that took place in January 2011 in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced today.

     Morris, formerly of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in December 2011 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to two counts of assault on a police officer while armed and one count of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. He was sentenced on March 2, 2012 by the Honorable Anthony C. Epstein. Upon completion of his prison term, Morris will be placed on five years of supervised release.

     According to the government’s evidence, on January 18, 2011, at about 3:35 p.m., MPD officers responded to a call for a man with a gun in the 300 block of Delafield Place NW. While driving a marked police cruiser, Officer Clayton Bass observed a person matching the suspect’s description, the defendant, in the 4800 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW. Officer Bass followed Morris, pulling up in front of him and blocking his path.

     A second officer, Phillip Burggraf, also traveling in a marked police cruiser, drove into the block and blocked Morris’s path from the back. Without hesitation, Morris fired several shots from a Ruger semi-automatic pistol at Officer Burggraf while he was trapped in his vehicle. The shots struck the front windshield and side panel of the police car. Pieces of glass from the windshield cut Officer Burggraf’s face and went into his eye, causing him and other officers to believe that he had been shot.

     Despite the injuries, Officer Burggraf exited his vehicle and fired at the defendant. Officer Bass also exited his vehicle, and the defendant turned, pointed the gun at him and fired several shots. Officer Bass took cover and was not struck.

     When he ran out of ammunition, Morris fled the area.

     The events were observed by an off-duty MPD officer and an off-duty MPD detective, and the defendant was caught moments later while trying to force his way into an occupied vehicle. Forensic examination revealed that the defendant fired at least 10 rounds at the officers.

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the outstanding work of Officers Bass and Burggraf, as well as Detectives Robbie Papay, Bobby Schmidt, Curtis Prince, Derek Bell, and John Cobb. Finally, Mr. Machen praised the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Magdalena Acevedo, who investigated and indicted the case.






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