Family of John Geer, Springfield man shot by Fairfax County Police, files wrongful death lawsuit

John Geer (right) and family. (Photo courtesy of family)

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WJLA) - The family of a Springfield man shot by police during a standoff last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Fairfax County Police Department.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Fairfax County Circuit Court, asks for $12 million for the wrongful death of John Geer, as well as $350,000 in punitive damages against the officers involved.

The lawsuit and claims all stem from an incident that took place on Aug. 29, 2013.

On that date, Fairfax County Police responded to a reported domestic dispute in a home on the 7900 block of Pebble Brook Court. Whoever reported the incident claimed that Geer had weapons, prompting a large police response, as well as SWAT teams entering the usually quiet neighborhood.

Police said they negotiated with Geer, who was standing in the doorway of the home, for about 40 minutes. Geer reportedly had his hands up, resting on the door jamb above his head.

However, when Geer reportedly started lowering one of his arms, police opened fire and shot him. Rescue teams that entered the home reported that Geer was dead.

A few days after the incident, police announced that their investigation revealed that Geer had not been armed, after all.

Now, Geer's widow, Maura Harrington, is the plaintiff in the lawsuit that names the Fairfax County Police Department, Chief Ed Roessler, and three as-yet unnamed police officers who were involved in the shooting as defendants.

In the wrongful death claim, Harrington cites "solace, mental anguish and solace," loss of Geer's income and funeral expenses, asking for $12 million in compensation, as well as interest dating back to Aug. 29, 2013, when the incident took place.

Harrington also requests the return of "personal property wrongfully seized and now retained" by the police department.