Reported by WUSA 9
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — A man is dead after an early morning officer-involved shooting in Southeast and his family has many questions they want answered about the details on Tuesday.
Officials say Cleman Sweptson was shot by a police officer shortly after 3 Tuesday morning in the 2500 block of Sheridan Road near Stanton Road after getting on his bike to leave his mother’s apartment building. According to police on Tuesday morning, officers in the area of Stanton Road and Sheridan Road noticed a man acting erratically, possibly high on drugs, in the street. They instructed him to get out of the street and move to the sidewalk, according to police. Once the man got to the sidewalk, police say he pulled out what appeared to be a gun, causing an officer to fire. An officer fired two shots that struck Sweptson in the upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The officer was not injured.
His family says Sweptson does not criminal record, and he was not carrying a weapon at the time of the shooting. Police say, however, he was armed and fired at an officer. They also say a gun was recovered from the scene.
According to his family, Cleman Sweptson was sitting on the stoop of his mother’s apartment building when police came and told him to move along. The family says he got on his bike to leave, and the next thing they heard were gunshots. His mother says police may have mistaken a small radio she gave him for a gun.
She also said that he does not own any weapons. “He was not that kind of kid,” said Carolyn Bell.
Police later confirmed on Tuesday that Sweptson was riding a bike, but family members and police disagree about what happened after he turned the corner on his bike.
Ward 8 ANC Commissioner Natalie Williams, who was with the family on Tuesday after the shooting, also had questions about what happened. “My first question is, why was he asked to move? Then what happened from here to less than a block away for him to be shot?”
Williams says she has told the family to wait to see what the surveillance cameras in the area will tell them.
Bell says Sweptson was sitting on her porch playing music and was not high or acting strangely before the shooting.
Sweptson’s niece questioned why the crime scene was cleared so quickly and why an ambulance did not show up.
Around 2 p.m. Tuesday, MPD released the following information in an emailed statement:
“The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a fatal police involved shooting which occurred in the 2500 block of Sheridan Road, Southeast.
Preliminary investigation reveals that at approximately 3:04 am on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, a police officer from the Seventh District encountered a subject that appeared to be under the influence of narcotics in the 2500 block of Sheridan Road, Southeast. While investigating, the subject brandished a handgun and fired at the officer, which resulted in the officer firing his service weapon striking the suspect. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded and did not find signs consistent with life and the decedent remained on the scene. A handgun was recovered at the scene.”