McLean, VA – Fairfax County police released bodycam video on Thursday of the fatal officer-involved shooting of a transgender man who charged at officers with a bottle during a mental health crisis in July (video below).
The incident began at about 7 p.m. on July 7 after 26-year-old Jasper “Aaron” Lynch’s sister, who was on a train home from New York, became worried about what her brother said to her on a phone call, WTOP reported.
Bodycam video from the scene later on showed she told police that her brother had been living with their parents at their home in the 6900-block of Arbor Lane in McLean while he transitioned and had been undergoing therapy for some time.
The sister said they thought Lynch was doing better but then their parents went out of town and left the 26 year old alone.
But while they were gone, he found out that an old girlfriend had died and seemed to have had a break with reality, “a kind of schizophrenic-type episode,” according to his sister in the video.
She told police Lynch called her while she was on the train and was hallucinating and said there were people after him and controlling his mind.
The video showed she told police she asked a friend to go over and check on her brother, but when the friend arrived at the home, Lynch started yelling and throwing things at her.
The friend called 911 and officers responded along with a trained co-responder from the community health department, but Lynch had already left the home and they were unable to find him in the area, WTOP reported.
Lynch’s sister arrived at her parents’ home at about 8:30 p.m. and tried to talk to her brother.
She told police he appeared to be suffering a mental health crisis when she arrived.
The sister said Lynch started throwing pictures at her from the top of the stairwell and told her to call 911 so she left the house and called the police, bodycam video showed.
Officers responded to the home for second time, but the trained mental health co-responder did not accompany them, The Washington Post reported.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said the only clinician who works with the police department was unavailable.
“This clinician had moved on to another location at the conclusion of his tour of duty to complete some administrative paperwork,” Chief Davis said.
The police chief said that all three officers who went to the house the second time had received advanced crisis-intervention training, The Washington Post reported.
Lynch’s sister told police that her brother didn’t seem to be attached to reality.
The video showed she gave officers permission to enter the home through the front door to try to talk to her brother.
Police said that when officers entered the home, Lynch was holding a large tribal mask in one hand and bottle in the other.
He knocked some items off a table and the officers spoke to him in a calming tone, tried to de-escalate the situation, and asked him to put down the items he was holding, the video showed.
“You’re alright,” one officer told him. “Bud, it’s okay.”
“Are my parents here?” Lynch asked in the video.
“You’re not in trouble,” another officer told him. “You asked to call for us, remember?”
A split second later, Lynch lunged and threw the big tribal mask at the officers.
An officer deployed a Taser at him, but it appeared to have no effect, the video showed.
He screamed and started around the table holding the bottle in the air and a second officer Tased him.
But police said the video showed that still didn’t stop Lynch, who he held the bottle with two hands and swung in it in a striking motion, the video showed.
“I think it’s safe to say they were several feet away,” Chief Davis explained. “And both Taser prongs have to hit in order for it to take effect. Again, our investigation will reveal if, in fact, those Tasers hit, if they took effect, and if they didn’t, why not.”
Video showed that Lynch lunged at officers while swinging the bottle with two hands.
That was when a third officer opened fire on Lynch with his duty weapon and fired multiple times, WTOP reported.
Bodycam video showed Lynch fell to the ground on the front porch of the house but continued to struggle as an officer jumped on top of him telling him “I got ya. It’s okay, it’s okay.”
Lynch was pronounced dead at the scene, WTOP reported.
The officer-involved shooting is under investigation, The Washington Post reported.
The officers who were who involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings.
“Our officers were confronted with a very chaotic and dangerous situation,” Chief Davis said when he released the bodycam video.
“I want to be careful not to offer any assessments or any opinions,” the police chief said. “But I think it’s clear to see from the video that that was a very active and chaotic incident.”
He also said the department planned to eventually have 16 mental-health clinicians working with officers in the field beside officers, The Washington Post reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: