Credit: Logo from Maryland Attorney General's Office website

Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker wants the state’s attorney general — not Howard County — to investigate the fatal shooting of a Gaithersburg man by four police officers.

The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office investigates Montgomery County shootings by police officers under a reciprocal agreement between the two counties.

The attorney general’s office has said it currently doesn’t have the authority to investigate the shooting. But on Oct. 1, a new state law takes effect requiring the office to investigate all fatalities caused by police officers.

LeRoux, 21, was shot and killed on July 16 following a standoff at a McDonald’s on Flower Hill Way in Gaithersburg that lasted more than an hour. The shooting is currently being investigated by the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The AG’s office “lacks the authority” to investigate shootings by officers prior to Oct. 1, Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for Frosh’s office, told Bethesda Beat on Monday.

When asked whether after Oct. 1 the AG’s office could take over an investigation of a shooting that occurred before that date, Coombs said she wasn’t sure.


Yolanda Vazquez, a spokeswoman for the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office, told Bethesda Beat on Monday that until the new state law takes effect, the memorandum of understanding between Montgomery and Howard counties remains in place.

“As far as we know, we are going to see this investigation through to its completion,” she said of the LeRoux shooting.

Hucker, during a briefing with reporters on Monday, said he sent a letter to Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office last week asking that the investigation be transferred to his office.


In the Aug. 10 letter, Hucker wrote that “there is an inherent conflict of interest when law enforcement investigates itself, regardless of whether the agencies are part of the same jurisdiction.”

“The reality that guilty findings could damage interjurisdictional relationships can heavily influence the decisions of the investigators,” he wrote.

This year, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021, which requires a law enforcement agency to notify the independent investigative unit in the attorney general’s office of any “alleged or potential police-involved death of a civilian.”


The AG’s office “shall investigate all alleged or potential police-involved deaths of civilians,” according to the text of the legislation.

The law, which will take effect Oct. 1, states that the AG’s office “may investigate other crimes related to police misconduct” found during its investigation.

The law also states that the AG’s office “may act with the full powers, rights, privileges and duties of a state’s attorney” and must submit a confidential report to the state’s attorney of the county that has “jurisdiction to prosecute the matter.”


Hucker wrote that the AG’s office should “take the lead in the investigation immediately” and not wait until October.

“The need for a thorough, objective examination of facts and circumstances in the LeRoux case is urgent,” he wrote.

Hucker noted in the letter that Dana Mulhauser, the incoming chief of the new Independent Investigative Unit in the AG’s office, begins work on Wednesday.


“This leaves over six weeks until the unit is legally mandated to take on misconduct investigations, and I believe the work must start sooner,” Hucker wrote.

State Sen. Will Smith, a Montgomery County Democrat who introduced the legislation this year, could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.

The circumstances surrounding LeRoux’s death remain controversial a month later.


Police said they were called to the McDonald’s around 9:15 p.m. on July 16 because LeRoux was refusing to pay for food in the drive-through lane and had parked there.

When one officer saw a handgun in the passenger seat of LeRoux’s SUV, he called for backup.

Body camera footage shows attempts by officers to communicate with LeRoux, along with a brief conversation an emergency dispatcher had with him. Officers can be heard speaking by radio about a mobile crisis negotiator who was en route to the scene.


The video shows LeRoux moving inside his vehicle moments before four officers start shooting. Police have said that at some point LeRoux’s gun was in his lap, but have never said whether he ever held or pointed it.

Social justice advocates and LeRoux’s family have both criticized the police’s inability to de-escalate the situation.

LeRoux’s family could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.


The July shooting is the fourth by a law enforcement officer in Montgomery County that has turned fatal. The others are:

  • The shooting of 24-year-old Kwamena Ocran following a confrontation with four plainclothes Gaithersburg officers in January. The shooting remains under investigation.
  • The shooting of a man in Laytonsville by a county sheriff’s deputy in February after he attacked the deputy with a large tree branch. The deputy was later cleared of wrongdoing by the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office.
  • An off-duty Pentagon officer was charged with murder after allegedly shooting and killing two men in Takoma Park in April.

Hucker said on Monday that he contacted Frosh’s office at the request of advocates, and that there has been concern in the community about the fact that Howard County has not found wrongdoing against police officers in past use-of-force cases.

“Regardless of the facts of any of those cases, it would go a long way toward restoring public confidence in the independence of the investigation by referring this to the attorney general’s office,” he said.


Asked to elaborate, Hucker said there is more distance between the AG’s office and Montgomery County.

“We’ve had this arrangement with Howard County to create the appearance of more independence than Montgomery County doing its own investigation,” he said. “However, we have to work with Howard County. Our state’s attorney has to work with their state’s attorney on many things. Our police have to work with their police on many things.”

County Council Member Will Jawando, who has sponsored police reform legislation at the county level, told Bethesda Beat on Monday that other recent shootings by police officers could have warranted a review by the attorney general, too.


Recent legislation that the county passed modifying the use of force by county officers should have been a bigger influence on how police responded in the LeRoux case, he said.

“In this case, I think there were a plethora of options on the table,” he said.

Staff writer Steve Bohnel contributed to this story.


Dan Schere can be reached at