On May 17 at 3:47 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 6300 block of Josephine Road in Waldorf to serve an arrest warrant for a man who had violated his probation related to a prior assault conviction. A family member of the man had recently contacted the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office to advise the man was violating his probation. A warrant was subsequently issued.
On May 17, a relative of the man called 9-1-1 and reported he was at the house on Josephine Road. The caller also indicated the man had mental health history. Officers began coordinating a plan with the goal of taking the man into custody as safely as possible. When the officers were inside the house, the man suddenly began shooting, striking two officers multiple times.
Additional officers who were at the house returned fire; it is not immediately clear if the suspect was injured at that time. Officers were able to safely evacuate the injured officers and the man’s mother and father who were inside the house. The injured officers were subsequently flown to a trauma hospital.
Due to the situation, a barricade was declared and officers established a perimeter. Members of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Team and the Crisis Negotiation Team, along with support from the Maryland State Police, La Plata Police Department, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, responded and began trying to contact the man.
After no response, a specially trained team of officers were able to utilize a drone to enter the house through the front door, which was wide open. The drone showed the male was lying on the floor and motionless; a gun was observed near him. Emergency Services officers entered the house, located the man, and attempted to render first aid; however, the man was deceased.
Officers recovered a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine containing 22 live rounds. The gun–a Polymer “ghost gun” is a gun made from kits that are sold online and have no traceable serial numbers. Family members were not aware he had a firearm. The man has been identified as Denzell Nathan Clarke, 28, of Waldorf. He was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore where an autopsy will determine the manner and cause of death.
The officers who were injured include a 10-year-veteran assigned to patrol and an officer with less than one year of experience also assigned to patrol. Both officers have serious injuries; however, the injuries do not appear to be life threatening. At this time, the investigation is fluid and ongoing. Additional details will be released when available.