|Saturday, July 23, 2011 – John Patti|
|A Prince George’s County man is under police guard at a hospital after he attacked a Maryland state trooper who had responded to his call for a traffic crash this morning on the Capital Beltway, not far from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
The suspect is identified as 54 year old James A. Howard of Hyattsville. Criminal charges are pending against him and are expected to be filed later Saturday. He is currently under guard by state troopers at Ft. Washington Hospital, where he was taken for an evaluation.
The state trooper is identified as Trooper Byron Tribue, who is assigned to the Forestville Barrack. He has been a state trooper for a year and a half. Trooper Tribue sustained stab wounds to his hand and was treated at Ft. Washington Hospital. He was released from the hospital after treatment.
At about 6:30 Saturday morning the duty officer at the Forestville Barrack took a call from a man, later identified as Howard, who said he had been involved in a single-vehicle crash on the inner loop of I-495, just prior to I-295 on the southeast side of the Capital Beltway.
Trooper Tribue had just started his shift and was dispatched to the call. When he arrived, the trooper noticed Howard was already outside his car and walking toward him.
Howard approached on the passenger side and Trooper Tribue, while still seated in his car, asked him if he was injured. As the trooper turned to retrieve his hat from the back seat, Howard ran around to the driver’s side of the patrol car, pulled what appears to be a kitchen-type knife with a seven inch blade, and immediately began attacking the trooper through the open window.
The trooper was able to radio an emergency call to the barrack and began fighting off the attack while still seated in his car. He was unable to get the door open to get out.
While the trooper was being attacked, an unknown citizen stopped and jumped on the back of the attacker. This gave the trooper the opportunity to get out of the car and escape further, and likely more serious, injury.
Moments later, other state troopers and county police officers arrived on the scene and subdued the suspect. The assisting citizen left the scene without identifying himself.
Further investigation indicates Howard’s car had struck the guardrail at that location. State Police investigators have learned Howard may have initiated the attack in an attempt to get the trooper to use deadly force against him.
The investigation is continuing.