06/02/2004

Off-Duty D.C. Officer Slain After Attempted Robbery, Shootout

Officer Down: Clifton Rife - [Washington, ]

The Associated Press

Oxon Hill, Md. (AP) -- An off-duty District of Columbia police officer was killed early Wednesday after a shootout with a teenager who allegedly attempted to rob him, authorities said.

Sgt. Clifton Rife, 34, was slain about 4:30 a.m. outside an apartment building in the Maryland suburb of Oxon Hill, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, D.C. police spokesman. The robbery suspect, 16-year-old Jonathan Montinous Washington, was also killed.

Rife was a 13-year veteran with the police department's narcotics branch, Gentile said. He is survived by a wife and two children.

"He contributed an awful lot to our department," Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey said during a news conference outside Prince George's Hospital Center. "We're going to miss him very much."

Sgt. Tammy Sparkman, with Prince George's County police, said Rife was visiting a friend on the 5400 block of Livingston Terrace when he was allegedly approached outside the apartment building by Washington. Washington lived nearby in the 5600 block of Livingston Terrace, according to police.

Shots were fired by both men, Sparkman said. Washington was pronounced dead at the scene. The police officer was taken by helicopter to the hospital after summoning help.

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