Fairfax County, VA – Fairfax County police have released security and bodycam footage showing the moment when a suspect driving a stolen U-Haul truck grabbed an officer’s weapon and shoved him into a patrol car before being fatally shot (video below).
The incident occurred on May 11, when a Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) officer assigned to the Mount Vernon Police District was notified about a stolen U-Haul that had passed by a license plate reader near the 6300-block of Richmond Highway, the FCPD said in a video briefing.
The U-Haul driver, later identified as 38-year-old Brandon Lemagne, pulled into a gas station parking lot and parked at a pump, the department said in a press release.
Lemagne started walking away from the vehicle just as a FCPD officer pulled in behind him, security footage showed.
The officer made contact with Lemagne and told him he was being detained because the U-Haul had been reported as stolen.
The suspect acted confused and questioned the officer, then grabbed his gun while the officer was requesting another unit over the radio, the video showed.
The FCPD said Lemagne “grabbed the officer’s firearm and tried to remove it from the holster.”
“Lemagne held onto the officer’s holstered firearm, assaulted the officer by striking him in the head and pulled him across the parking lot in an attempt to disarm him,” police added.
The officer sent out an alert over the radio as he fought desperately to retain his duty weapon, the video showed.
“Signal one! Signal one! He’s going for my gun!” the officer said.
The officer repeatedly ordered Lemagne to “get off” his gun, bodycam footage showed.
“Just stop!” the officer told him. “Sir, you’re not going to jail right now, alright? Get off my gun!”
The suspect then opened up the door to the officer’s patrol vehicle and forced him inside, the FCPD said.
“During the assault, the vehicle was placed into gear and rapidly accelerated backwards with the officer trapped underneath Lemagne,” police said. “The officer radioed for emergency assistance and told dispatch the suspect had his firearm.”
The patrol car slammed into two vehicles as it accelerated backward before ultimately crashing into a business and coming to a stop.
Police said the suspect continued to assault the officer as two additional officers arrived at the scene.
The suspect was “on top of the officer inside the cruiser” when one of the officers discharged his firearm, the FCPD said.
The back wheels of the patrol vehicle were still spinning rapidly at the time, but the patrol car was stuck due to the collision.
A second officer grabbed Lemagne and pulled him off of the officer and out of the patrol vehicle before he also discharged his gun at the suspect.
Officers quickly cut off the initial officer’s uniform and assessed him for any gunshot wounds, bodycam footage showed.
The FCPD said the victim officer was rushed to a local hospital for treatment of injuries he received as a result of the abduction and assault.
He was subsequently released to continue his recovery at home.
Lemagne was pronounced dead at the scene.
The FCPD said the victim officer’s duty weapon remained holstered throughout the attack, but that it had been yanked from his hip to the front of his belt during the brawl.
The officer’s duty belt also remained on his body throughout the assault.
“I firmly believe that the perpetrator, the assailant in this case, if he were to have lodged that gun free from the officer’s holster, he would have killed him,” FCPD Chief Kevin Davis said, according to The Washington Post. “He would have executed him.”
Investigators confirmed the U-Haul the suspect had been driving was reported as stolen from Richmond on May 3.
Chief Davis called the attack “egregious” and said it is “not the norm” for Fairfax County, WTOP reported.
“Our police officer is lucky to be alive,” he said. “I often say that these body-worn camera videos speak for themselves. I believe this is one of those instances… His intent was to kill that police officer.”
The chief said an internal investigation and a criminal investigation both remain ongoing, but that he believes the officers’ use of force was justified, WTOP reported.
“These officers ran toward gunfire, and their only intent was to save the life of that police officer who was screaming for help,” he said.
Lemagne’s sister, Nechelle Lemagne, said she was “baffled” that Chief Davis praised the officer who pulled her brother off of the initial officer and shot him, WJLA reported.
“The officers who responded did so quickly and acted with a great amount of bravery, particularly our 24-year veteran who literally pulled the assailant off of our police officer,” the chief said shortly after the incident occurred.
“In the press conference, he was deemed as a hero? Is that what we are calling people now?” Nechelle Lemagne told WJLA. “I am baffled.”
“Y’all are the police. You are supposed to fight criminals, not kill criminals!” she added. “And my brother was definitely murdered.”
Watch the incident unfold in the videos below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:
Fairfax County Police have released bodycam and surveillance video from a May 11th incident that was captured on a bystander’s cellphone where a police officer was attacked in his vehicle and the suspect was ultimately shot & killed.
/BWCs synch’d pic.twitter.com/piDLSbI6S7
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) May 25, 2023
🚨 Video ❗️
Police shoot Brandon Lemagne during an altercation in Fairfax County. pic.twitter.com/mRrxVEQE3g
— News Alphas (@NewsAlphas) May 13, 2023