DC Police Commander Jason Bagshaw shot and killed gunman at Wharf

The DC police officer who authorities say killed a man on Saturday night along the city’s busy waterfront promenade is a newly promoted commander who was off duty and was leaving dinner in a restaurant when he saw a man pointing a gun, according to four officials familiar with the investigation.

These officials said Cmdr. Jason Bagshaw, a 20-year veteran who has become a recognizable and sometimes controversial presence at citywide protests over the past three years, ordered the man to drop the gun and fired at least twice when the man did not comply.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly, said police were investigating the possibility that Bagshaw broke up an armed robbery. Bagshaw was not in uniform at the time, according to police and a video showing the aftermath of the shooting.

The shooting, which happened shortly after 9 p.m. in the 800 block of Wharf Street SW, sent people to shelter along a string of restaurants and clubs in one of the new upmarket nightlife areas of the district, known as the Wharf. Coming amid a rise in homicides and just a month after a 15-year-old was fatally shot at an event on U Street, the incident has rekindled fears for the safety of some in the city , especially in popular social centers.

Police did not officially identify Bagshaw on Sunday; DC law gives them five business days to identify officers involved in serious use-of-force cases and release video from their body-worn cameras.

Police have identified the man who was killed as 23-year-old Lazarus David Wilson of Dumfries, Virginia. Police say he came to the dock with another Virginia man and had a confrontation with a group of young men from the district. A relative of Wilson said she would pass a reporter’s contact details to the man’s mother; efforts to reach others have not been successful. Police say a man with the DC group was grazed by a bullet.

Three officials with knowledge of the investigation said a person involved told police the dispute involved the sale of watches, but those officials warned the account could not be confirmed. Two of the officials said police found a bag containing $30,000 with the deceased man.

Police said they were trying to sort out what happened. Officials said it appears Wilson and the other man encountered the men from the district and some sort of argument or altercation occurred as they walked along the street by the edge of the water.

DC Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said security camera video shows “an armed individual pointing a gun.” In a statement on Sunday, police said Bagshaw and the other officer – whom officials later identified as Bagshaw’s wife – “directed the suspect to drop the firearm and suspect did not comply”. It was not immediately clear whether Wilson had pointed the gun at the officers. It also could not be determined whether Bagshaw had identified himself as an officer.

No criminal charges have been filed in this case.

As with all DC police officers involved in a shooting, Bagshaw has been placed on administrative leave, authorities said. He was promoted in April to lead the Special Operations Divisionoverseeing tactical officers, civil unrest units, homeland security, traffic safety and special events, which includes the planning and management of large-scale protests.

He received many awards of the department. But he has also been singled out by activist groups who have questioned his conduct in protests, particularly those involving racial justice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Bagshaw is seen in numerous videos engaging and confronting protesters.

Efforts to reach Bagshaw by phone on Sunday were unsuccessful, and he did not respond to an email sent to his departmental account. A police spokesman confirmed Bagshaw had received the messages and said he did not wish to speak publicly.

DC police released a statement on Sunday that included a photo of a semi-automatic handgun they said Wilson was holding, along with an image they say shows Wilson holding the gun in his outstretched hand. .

Bagshaw was not wearing a body camera. Police said they were reviewing video of responding officers and security cameras.

Videos posted on social media showed a frantic gathering of police, while passers-by dispersed to get away. Some have expressed concern about safety on social media.

DC Council member Charles Allen (D), who represents Ward 6, which includes the waterfront, noted shootings in other major areas outside of Washington, including shootings last month in a Tysons Corner mall and a recent fatal shooting near the Baltimore Inner Harbor and baseball stadium.

Allen, who chairs a council committee overseeing DC police, said gun violence is a problem in cities and suburbs, driven by “easy access to guns and conflict that turns deadly in a wink”.

Allen said “there was a life lost last night” at the dock, and “it’s a tragedy”. But. he said, “I would take my family to the dock tomorrow to enjoy the water and the restaurants. I feel confident to do it.

Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, a black women-led racial justice group, released a video on instagram showing the immediate aftermath of the shooting. The video shows a man in dark pants and a white shirt on his knees, raising his hands as a uniformed officer approaches.

A man in the video can be heard saying, “I just witnessed someone die.

Nee Nee Taylor, the co-conductor of Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, said the man who took the video and allegedly saw the shooting did not want to be identified. Police officials have confirmed that the video shows Bagshaw after shooting Wilson.

A woman is also seen on video above another man; Police officials said it was Bagshaw’s wife, who they believe attacked one of the people involved in the incident.

The group Harriet’s Wildest Dreams demanded on Instagram that any video of the shooting be made public immediately. “Accountability is vital in this murder by the police,” the Instagram post reads.

DC police have shot four people this year, killing two of them. Additionally, a US Secret Service agent fatally shot another man and a Metro Transit officer shot and injured a man.