SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA9) — SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Five days after a Silver Spring man was shot and killed by Montgomery County Police, his family is speaking out to WUSA9, as they look for answers.
The shooting took place Monday afternoon, after police said 41-year-old Robert White assaulted an officer.
"I was just overcome with grief," said Stephanie Thompson, White's niece. "I just can't believe it."
Based on body camera video and witness statements, police said the following occurred on Monday afternoon:
Police said two-year veteran on the force, Anand Badgujar, was in the area of Sligo Creek Parkway in Silver Spring, when he requested assistance while investigating a "suspicious person" on Three Oaks Drive.
Police said that the officer approached White, when he became "combative and assaulted the officer." That's when the officer tried to pepper spray White. Eventually, the officer called for assistance, and White started walking in the opposite direction. That's when the officer walked back to the cruiser, to turn off the ignition.
Police said things escalated from there, when White started running toward Badgujar, forcing the officer to start back-pedaling. The force said that White knocked the officer down, as he discharged his weapon.
White fell as well, before getting up, and standing over the officer, who was on the ground. That's when police said White continued to assault the officer. That's when the officer fired more rounds at White.
Thompson said she was shocked by this account, and couldn't imagine "Uncle Robbie" doing something like this. Just hearing the word "attack," and Robbie in the same sentence made her sick.
"Even when you say that word," she said. "It just - my chest tightens."
Police said body camera video and witness testimony are both part of the investigation. When the investigation is over, it will be reviewed not by the Montgomery County's Office of the Attorney General, but the Howard County AG's Office. Captain Paul Starks said this has been a policy for many years.
"It's about transparency," he said. "And removing the perception of bias."
For now, White's family had a message for the Silver Spring community.
"Just pray for us," she said. "And pray for the officer. That's all I can say."
During our investigation, we looked into White's criminal history, and found numerous charges dating back two decades. These charges were not violent crimes, but rather things like theft or trespassing.
The officer involved in the shooting is currently on paid administrative leave, until this investigation is over.