Census suspect previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Ronald Anderson
This handout photo provided by the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office shows Ronald Anderson. (AP Photo/Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man charged in a crime spree that left a Census Bureau guard dead and a police officer wounded was previously convicted of manslaughter and recently was charged in an assault case involving his “visibly afraid” girlfriend, according to court documents obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Ronald Anderson, 48, was charged with assaulting his girlfriend in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Prince George’s County on Feb. 17, according to court records.

The officer responding to a domestic dispute call said that the man’s girlfriend was clearly afraid.

“The victim was shaking, crying and was whispering while speaking because she was afraid of the suspect hearing her,” the officer wrote, according to the documents.

Census Bureau Shooting
Law enforcement officers investigate the scene involving at least one wrecked DC Metro police car Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The woman, whose 10-month-old son was home, told police that Anderson had hit her several times, knocking her into walls, because he thought she was looking at another man, the records say.

Another court record filed in D.C. Superior Court shows that Anderson pleaded guilty to manslaughter while armed in 1991 in Washington, D.C. No other details were immediately available about that case.

Anderson’s attorney’s phone number rang busy Friday.

On Thursday, authorities said Anderson kidnapped a woman, fatally shot a Census Bureau guard and led police on a car chase through Maryland and Washington, before authorities cornered him in an exchange of gunfire that left Anderson and a police officer wounded.

Anderson, who remained hospitalized in unknown condition Friday, was charged with armed kidnapping and assault on a police officer in Thursday’s spree. More serious charges could follow in the jurisdiction where the guard was killed.

Anderson turned 48 the same day as the shooting and had been scheduled for a court hearing in the assault case involving his girlfriend on Friday. However, that was canceled. The trial in the assault case is set for July.

The wounded officer is recovering. The Census Bureau guard who was shot, Lawrence Buckner, died at a hospital in Cheverly, Maryland, after the shooting.

Census Bureau Shooting
A person is seen in a building on the U.S. Census Bureau headquarters campus as police search for an armed man who, according to a fire official, shot a security guard at a gate to the facility in Suitland, Md., Thursday, April 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Buckner, 59, was a contractor working for the federal government through the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company Master Security. The company said in a statement Friday that Buckner had served for about eight years in the U.S. Army and worked in the security field for more than two decades. He had been with Master Security for four years and leaves behind a wife, son and four grandchildren as well as a large extended family.

The woman who was allegedly kidnapped was found safe. It’s unclear whether she is the same woman involved in the February assault.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference Thursday that a guard at a gate of the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland, saw two people fighting in a car. That car matched the description of a vehicle described in a report of an armed kidnapping about 6 miles away in northeast Washington.

When the guard approached the car, the man shot him and took off, crossing the border into the nation’s capital and firing at police who gave chase, Lanier said.

He fired again at them during the chase before police blocked him and collided with his car, Lanier said. Cornered, the suspect opened fire again and police shot back. During the exchange of gunfire, both the suspect and an officer were wounded, she said.

The shooting “was a tragic and scary event for the Census Bureau family,” agency Director John Thompson said in a Friday statement.

“We know the situation last night was tense, especially for the hundreds of employees who sheltered in the building and in their cars for several hours not knowing when the incident would be over,” he said.

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