Brandon Figures-Mormon and Dwayne Nicholas Taylor were identified as the suspects initially accused of ramming a truck into a Washington D.C. crowd, striking two police officers and a city worker. However, only Figures-Mormon still faces charges.
Police have not revealed a motive, but they initially said they had not ruled out terrorism. However, the police chief said Friday that there was nothing to indicate terrorism, although people are not yet ruling out the possibility the officers were targeted. The sight of a truck ramming into innocent pedestrians has become all too familiar in Europe and raises obvious concerns.
The tragedy in D.C. unfolded around 9 p.m. June 8 in the Adams Morgan section of the city, which is a popular area for restaurants and nightlife. One of the officers was in critical condition, but, thus far, all have survived the attack, and two suspects were arrested at the scene.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Truck Traveled at a High Rate of Speed Before Striking the Victims & Both Suspects Are From Virginia
Dwayne Nicholas Taylor is 23 and from Prince George, Virginia, according to police, who initially charged him with Possession Of Unregistered Firearm/unlawful Possession Of A Firearm Or Destructive Device. However, prosecutors have since dropped the charges against Taylor.
Brandon Figures-Mormon is 22 and from Disputanta, Virginia. Police are accusing him of Assault with Intent to Kill and Possession Of Unregistered Firearm/unlawful Possession Of A Firearm Or Destructive Device.
Tiffany Roberts, a witness, wrote on Facebook, “While out for ice cream with friends, right in front of us, a guy in that truck drove through a crowd of people, walking, on bikes, and even cops and ended up crashing into a garbage truck.”
Three people were struck and injured. One D.C. police officer “was said to be in critical condition. The second officer was in serious condition, police said. And a woman who works for the city’s public works department was struck by the pickup truck, and was in serious condition,” reported The Washington Post.
One of the two bicycle officers was dragged about 30 feet by the white truck, a witness told The Post.
Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed in a news conference, “Three of our employees were struck by a vehicle…MPD is investigating exactly what happened.”
According to Police Chief Peter Newsham, who also spoke at the late night news conference, there was a “vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed in the Adams Morgan area” that “struck two of our bicycle patrol officers working in the area on duty at the time” and also struck the DPW worker.
Newsham said two of those struck have non life-threatening injuries, but one of the officers was in a fight to survive at the hospital. On the morning of June 9, Newsham tweeted, “A long and tough night 4 the MPD family, one officer remains critical but stable & the other is in fair condition. Thanks 4 all your support.”
The vehicle careened through the intersection and struck a vehicle that was unoccupied, he said.
2. A Weapon Was Recovered in the Suspects’ Truck & Taylor Is Accused of Telling a Witness He told Figures-Mormon to Slow Down
Police Chief Newsham told reporters that “there was a weapon recovered from suspect.” However, he would not confirm or deny news reports that the weapon was an AK-47. The Washington Post reported that the gun was “a military-style weapon described as a Romarm Cugir rifle, the Romanian version of the AK-47.”
No other pedestrians were injured the chief said, adding that the suspects suffered non life-threatening injuries when they crashed their truck at the scene.
He said that police were in the process of questioning the two suspects the evening of June 8.
According to The Washington Post, Bob Rogan, chief of staff to Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, “ran from a coffeehouse and reached the truck’s dazed passenger as he climbed from the wreckage, a cut on his forehead. Rogan said the man told him that he and his friend had been to a club and smoked something.” Police are accusing Figures-Mormon of being the driver.
“I told him not to do this,” Rogan told the Post that Taylor allegedly told him. “I told him to slow down, and he wouldn’t slow down.”
3. There Is No Indication of Terrorism but It Was Initially Not Ruled in or Out
In an evening press conference on June 8, the Washington D.C. police chief would not rule terrorism out, although police also have not determined a motive. There were reports that representatives of the FBI were at the scene.
Asked at the news conference whether police had ruled out terrorism, Newsham responded, “We have to look at that very closely. We don’t have a motive at this point.”
Asked whether the officers were “targeted,” the chief said, “We don’t know.”
The next day the chief said that there was no indication pointing to terrorism.
4. Brandon Figures-Mormon Once Enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps & Has a Criminal Historyk
According to The Washington Post, Figures-Mormon enlisted “in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 but was discharged a year later because the ‘character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps’ expectations and standards.” He previously pleaded guilty to assault after being accused of assaulting a police officer, the Post reported.
“He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery and received a suspended jail sentence of one year,” Fox News reported.
Police arrested two suspects at the scene after the truck crashed into an unoccupied vehicle. The chief said in the news conference that incidents like this one hit the department hard.
Spectators shot video of the arrests.
“Two of our officers were doing exactly what we ask them to do in the Adams Morgan community,” Chief Newsham said. “Two of my officers are unnecessarily in the hospital…We always have a significant number of officers in that area because it’s one of our nightlife areas.”
5. People Posted Videos & Photos From the Scene to Social Media
Videos and photos posted from the scene showed the crumpled bicycles, the white truck, and people attending to the injured in the street.
This post will be updated as more is learned about the suspects.