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Family Files $25M Lawsuit Against DC Police Commander For Off-Duty Shooting Of Armed Man

Washington, D.C. – A $25 million lawsuit has been filed against the District of Columbia, the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and an off-duty MPD commander by the family of the man he fatally shot at the city’s Wharf in 2021.

Officials said that DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Commander Jason Bagshaw was leaving dinner at a restaurant along the promenade at about 9 p.m. on July 16, 2021, when he spotted a man pointing a gun, The Washington Post reported.

Police said Cmdr. Bagshaw may have interrupted an armed robbery in the 800-block of Wharf Street, SW.

Officials said the 20-year veteran of the DC police force was with his wife, who is also a DC police officer, when they encountered the armed suspect, The Washington Post reported.

Police said they both “voiced a command for the suspect to drop the firearm and the suspect did not comply.”

Cmdr. Bagshaw shot the armed man twice, according to police officials.

The gunman has been identified as 23-year-old Lazarus David Wilson of Dumfries, Virginia, The Washington Post reported.

Police said Wilson had gone to the Wharf with a friend and gotten into an altercation with a group of men.

One of the men in that group was grazed by a bullet, according to police.

Officers recovered a bag containing $30,000 in cash with Wilson’s body, The Washington Post reported.

They also recovered Wilson’s semiautomatic handgun.

DC Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said a security camera captured footage that showed an “individual pointing a gun” before Cmdr. Bagshaw fired his weapon, The Washington Post reported.

Cmdr. Bagshaw, who runs MPD’s Special Operations Division, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the officer-involved shooting is investigated.

He was not wearing a bodycam when he shot Wilson because he wasn’t on duty, The Washington Post reported.

The police commander has been the recipient of numerous awards from the police department.

Wilson’s family filed the $25 million complaint in DC federal court on July 11, WTOP reported.

The lawsuit alleged that Wilson was trying to protect somebody else when he was shot by the off-duty police official.

“Mr. Bagshaw was not in uniform, didn’t announce himself and he just shot Mr. Wilson,” Andrew Clarke, the attorney for Wilson’s family, said. “Had Mr. Bagshaw actually took some time to announce himself and assess the situation, he would have realized that Mr. Wilson was actually the one in need of assistance.”

Their lawsuit alleged Wilson was wrongfully shot by Cmdr. Bagshaw, who they claimed should not have been carrying his service weapon off-duty, WTOP reported.

However, MPD general orders required members of the police force to carry their duty weapons at all times when they’re within the DC city limits.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia announced in February that it would not bring charges against Cmdr. Bagshaw, WTOP reported.

“After a careful, thorough, and independent review of the evidence, federal prosecutors found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Commander Bagshaw used excessive force under the circumstances,” the prosecutors’ statement read.

The investigation determined that Wilson was pointing a gun at someone when Cmdr. Bagshaw fatally shot him, WTOP reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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