Police lights

Two Richmond police officers exchanged gunfire overnight with a person on the grounds of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, according to the police department.

About 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, an officer was conducting a routine security check at the East End school when he saw a person inside a secure, fenced area behind the building, police said.

The officer called for back up and two additional officers arrived.

“Contact was made with the individual, at which time gunfire was exchanged,” police said in a statement released more than 12 hours after the incident.

Gene Lepley, a spokesman for the department, said the officers were fired upon, but he declined to say who fired first, citing an ongoing investigation.

Police said the person fled the area. They provided no description of the person.

Detectives believe there is no ongoing threat to the community, police said.

“I am relieved that none of the officers were injured,” said Chief William C. Smith. “This is a sobering reminder of the dangers these men and women face as they work to protect the community.”

Lepley said the officers were not struck by gunfire, but he declined to say whether anyone else was injured. The department’s Force Investigation Team, made up of detectives, will investigate the incident and provide a report, which will be reviewed by Smith and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

The two officers who discharged their weapons have been placed on administrative assignment, police said.

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arockett@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6527

Twitter: @AliRockettRTD

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