3 officers shot in Washington, leading to daylong standoff before suspect's arrest

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Washington Metropolitan Police are shown near a scene where three police officers were shot and a fourth suffered minor injuries while responding to a shooting, Wednesday morning, Feb. 14, 2024 in Washington. The officers are expected to survive the wounds and were being treated at area hospitals after the shooting in the nation's capital, the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement posted online. The fourth officer's injuries were not gunshot wounds, police said. The police union said three of its members had been shot by a suspect and were taken to area hospitals with gunshot wounds. (AP Photos/Nathan Ellgren)

WASHINGTON – Three police officers were shot trying to make an animal cruelty arrest that touched off an hourslong standoff in the nation's capitol on Wednesday, which ended late at night with a man's arrest.

The officers were hospitalized and expected to recover from gunshot wounds, authorities said. A fourth officer was hurt at the scene, but not shot.

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The standoff started Wednesday morning as officers attempted to make an arrest on an animal cruelty warrant, but the suspect refused to leave the home, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela Smith said. As officers tried to get inside, a person opened fire.

The shooter barricaded himself inside his home in the southeast part of Washington and continued sporadically firing shots hours after opening fire, police said.

Hours after the standoff began, 46-year-old Julius James was arrested on suspicion of cruelty to animals. He is expected to face additional charges related to the shooting. No attorney or phone number was listed for him in public records Wednesday night.

One officer was struck by gunfire twice, but the rounds were stopped by a bulletproof vest, said Gregg Pemberton, chairman of the Washington, D.C., police union. Two more officers were struck in their lower legs. The fourth officer suffered hand injuries at the scene, he said.

“We expect some may have a lengthy recovery, but hopefully they'll be back on the streets again soon,” Pemberton said.

Roads were closed, schools were locked down and police warned people to stay far from the area as the shooting unfolded.

The incident comes as the District of Columbia is struggling with a sharp increase in violent crime, which went up 39% in 2023. It was largely fueled by a 35% rise in homicides and growth in carjackings, which nearly doubled. Smith pushed lawmakers to pass legislation that would strengthen penalties for gun offenses in the nation’s capital.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden is praying the officers make full recoveries and called for more congressional action on guns.

“This shooting is yet another distressing and painful reminder of the toll gun violence is inflicting on families, on our communities and, obviously, on our nation,” she said.


Associated Press writer Darlene Superville and editor Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

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