FORT MEADE, Md. – Court documents show that a cross-dressing man killed during a violent encounter at the National Security Agency had a history of theft and assault, and was mistaken at least once for being a woman.
The FBI has identified Ricky Shawatza Hall as the person who was killed Monday after the NSA said he failed to obey orders to drive away from a heavily guarded gate leading into the highly secure NSA campus. An NSA police officer was treated for minor injuries and released.
Hall, 27, was accompanied by a second man who was not identified and who remained hospitalized Tuesday with unspecified injuries. The two men were dressed as women, but “not in an attempt to disguise themselves from authorities,” FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said.
Court documents show Hall had a criminal record. In 2013, he was charged after he 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 and was mistaken for a woman, 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 his 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, the men 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 his passenger took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.
The driver of the SUV 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 if federal charges are warranted.