WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The Metropolitan Police Department responded to an active shooter in the Van Ness neighborhood on Friday, April 22. During the search for a suspect, there were multiple people detained by police.
One person who was detained is named Mohammed Williams. Williams lives in the same apartment building as the shooter, and he said he was handcuffed and taken to a police car when he went to check his mail. He explained that after coming out of the elevator, “They just saw me, pointed a gun at me, said they were going to shoot me. I just got scared. I thought they were really going to shoot me, so I just went straight on the floor.”
Williams said he had no idea there was an active shooter investigation going on and continued asking officers what was happening as he was handcuffed and taken a block away to a police cruiser. He said, “I was so embarrassed. I was in tears, and I was trying to talk to the officer, like tell me what’s going on and he was not responding to me.”
The walk to the car was recorded and streamed on live television, and Williams’s photo circulated on social media and multiple news outlets. He saw the videos and photos after the police let him go, seven hours later. When asked if it was hard to watch the video back, Williams replied, “It is really difficult for me to watch this knowing that this is actually me being dragged down like a criminal.”
To make matters worse for Williams, he had to face rumors and social media posts calling him the suspect. “I am still processing. I’m still wondering why me,” he said. “Why did I get taken away like that as soon as the police saw me? They didn’t question me. I have never done anything criminal, or violent toward anybody. It is just embarrassing.”
During a press conference on Monday, April 25, Police Chief Robert Contee referenced another man who was arrested on Friday. This man was an armed felon, and the chief said he was arrested while the building was being evacuated. This led to confusion, as people assumed he was talking about Williams.
WDVM has reached out to the police department multiple times with an interview request regarding the incident with Williams and to learn more about the felon Chief Contee spoke about. The department’s public information office said they would respond as soon as possible.
Williams said he has not heard from anyone with M.P.D. since the incident. He said he is planning on taking legal action, as he feels he was targeted and treated with unjust use of force. He did suffer physical harm to his wrist, and is having to visit an orthopedic surgeon in the coming days.