Driver killed at NSA identified as transgender, friend says
BALTIMORE (AP) The driver killed in a violent confrontation at a National Security Agency gate identified as transgender and was a sex worker in Baltimore, according to a friend.
Ricky Shawatza Hall, 27, was killed Monday when NSA police opened fire on a stolen car that then crashed into a police vehicle. A passenger was wounded, as was an officer.
Kayla Brooks, who works at a transgender outreach program in Baltimore, said Hall went by the name Mya, and that she last saw her on Sunday. Brooks says Hall "seemed high and was looking for a date" while walking up and down a Baltimore strip knows as a hotspot for sex work.
Court documents show Hall had a criminal record. In 2013, she was charged after she assaulted a woman and stole a bottle of methadone from her pocket. Hall had been wearing a yellow dress at the time of the assault, the documents show. In 2014, Hall was charged with robbery after stealing a vest and skirt from a Baltimore clothing store.
On Monday, police determined that Hall and her passenger were driving the SUV of a 60-year-old Baltimore man, who told investigators he had picked up the two strangers in Baltimore and brought them to a Howard County motel.
Howard County Police spokeswoman, Mary Phelan, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the driver did not tell police why they made the roughly 10-mile drive to the Terrace Motel.
The man told police they checked into a room about 7:30 a.m., and that he used the bathroom about an hour later. When he came out, they were gone, along with his car keys, Phelan said.
Police said they could not confirm whether drugs, alcohol, or sex were part of the roughly one-hour stay.
Just before 9 a.m. and minutes after the man called to report the stolen car, Hall and her passenger took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.
Hall did not obey a guard's instructions for leaving the campus, said spokesman Jonathan Freed. Instead, the SUV sped up and headed toward an NSA police car blocking the road, Freed said in a statement.
"NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop," Freed said, after which the SUV crashed into the police car.
It's not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer's command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. That man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested and is awaiting trial on federal charges.
Thousands of daily commuters who traverse the Baltimore-Washington Parkway pass the NSA's heavily secured campus at Fort Meade each day. About 11,000 military personnel and about 29,000 civilian employees with security clearances work inside the complex, which is surrounded by barbed wire.
The FBI is investigating and working with the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland to determine whether federal charges are warranted.
Associated Press Writer Ben Nuckols in Washington contributed to this report.