Deputy Who Had One More Shift Before Retirement Killed

Fleeing suspect struck Cpl. Brian LaVigne's cruiser in Florida, per sheriff's office
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2021 1:26 PM CST
On-Duty Deputy Killed Days Before Retirement
Police cruisers are pictured at the scene of a crime.   (Getty Images/MattGush)

A Florida sheriff's deputy had one full shift to complete before retirement when he was killed on duty Monday. Cpl. Brian LaVigne had been called to assist fellow Hillsborough County deputies in apprehending a fleeing suspect when that suspect rammed LaVigne's cruiser, Sheriff Chad Chronister said. Deputies were first made aware of the suspect after a 3:45pm call about a man throwing items off a balcony at an apartment complex, per WTSP. Observing no crime, deputies left the scene but returned around 5pm in response to a report that the man was now naked and throwing cookies at his neighbors. At this point, the suspect—identified as 28-year-old Travis Garrett—knocked down a deputy with a blow to the head, Chronister said. Despite repeated use of a stun gun, Garrett was able to escape in a car, Chronister added. That's when he encountered LaVigne, 54.

According to Chronister, Garrett deliberately changed lanes so as to ram his car into the driver's side of LaVigne's cruiser. Garrett went "as fast as he could make that car go," Chronister said. The cruiser crashed, trapping an unconscious LaVigne inside, before the Jaws of Life could be used to free him. He was later pronounced dead of his injuries at a hospital. "It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of HCSO Master Corporal Brian LaVigne, killed in the line of duty … while assisting his fellow deputies," reads a statement from the sheriff's office, of which LaVigne's daughter is a member, per Spectrum News. Tuesday would have been his last shift. Garrett, who suffered minor injuries, was also taken to a hospital, Chronister said. He is to face charges including battery on a law enforcement officer and aggravated fleeing and alluding, per WTSP. (More deputy stories.)

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