The FBI has identified the person killed while trying to ram the security gates outside of NSA headquarters as Ricky Shawatza Hall, a 27-year-old Baltimore resident with prior arrests for robbery, assault, and prostitution.
Hall and another person—identified by CBS Baltimore as Kevin Fleming, 20—attempted to drive through the gate outside the Fort Meade complex early Monday. Hall, who was driving, reportedly ignored warnings to stop and crashed into an NSA police car, at which point officers opened fire, killing Hall and wounding the passenger. A small amount of cocaine was reportedly found inside the SUV.
Both Hall and the passenger were wearing women's clothing, though authorities say neither were trying to disguise themselves. The Baltimore Sun, citing a close friend of Hall's, reports that Hall identified as transgender and went by the name Maya.
Tyelil "Ty Ty" Ishway, the friend of Hall's, said Hall went by the name Mya and identified as transsexual. The two became acquainted years ago while living together in a group home and remained close, he said.
Hall was independent and sometimes "stubborn," and had "depressed" days and happy days, Ishway said. Estranged from family, Hall had been staying with other people in the transgender community or jumping from "motel to motel," Ishway said.
Hall "was loved," Ishway said. "People was always there, and would be by her side."
The incident began Monday morning around 7:30 a.m., when Hall and an acquaintance were picked up by a 60-year-old man in Baltimore and driven to a Howard County motel. The 60-year-old told investigators that Hall and the other suspect stole his Ford SUV about an hour later, while he was using the bathroom.
Just before 9 a.m., Hall exited the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and drove into a restricted area in front of the NSA's entrance at the Fort Meade complex, a mistake that's somewhat common and easily corrected if the driver follows directions from police.
In this case, authorities say the men ignored instructions on how to leave, and ended up stuck behind barriers. Police ordered them to stop, and then things escalated quickly.
"The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus," Jonathan Freed, an NSA spokesman, said in a statement. The vehicle failed to stop, then "accelerated toward an NSA Police vehicle blocking the road. NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop. The unauthorized vehicle crashed into the NSA Police vehicle."
James Burrell Jr., a spokesman from Women Accepting Responsibility, which works with transgender women in Baltimore, told the Baltimore Sun it's possible that Hall, who had prior arrests for assault, robbery, and prostitution, may have panicked and tried to flee because the SUV was stolen. The FBI has ruled out terrorism as a motivation, according to the Associated Press.
[Images via AP]