Taft Sellers shooting was justified, Commonwealth Attorney says

Taft Sellers, 30, was shot and killed by police at a Duke Street apartment complex in February. (Family photo)

The February shooting of a 30-year-old ex-Marine in Alexandria was justified because the suspect pulled a gun on more than a half dozen responding officers, according to a Commonwealth's Attorney's report.

The Feb. 18 police-involved shooting killed Taft Sellers, a former sergeant with the United States Marine Corps, while officers responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment near North Quaker Lane and Duke Street.

Sellers, a 2001 graduate of T.C. Williams High School, was shot five times by officers after officials say he pulled a handgun during a verbal exchange with officers.

"Several things were happening some contention with the family," Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook said at the time of the shooting. "Officers were confronted by a gentleman and it ended up with a shooting."

The incident began when officers were called to the 3700 block of Duke Street on a report of domestic violence. When officers arrived, the report says they encountered Sellers on an outside stairwell of an apartment complex. Sellers had been in an argument with his younger sister, the report says.

According to the testimony of seven responding officers, Sellers was told repeatedly to show his hands to police, commands which he refused. He did say, though, that he had a gun when authorities asked him about it.

Then, according to several officers, Sellers reached his hand behind him, retrieved a handgun and pointed it at officers. That prompted the responding officers to open fire.

In total, 37 shots were fired at Sellers; the suspect was hit five times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Family and friends say that Sellers was well known in Alexandria after serving tours in Japan, France and Africa during his time with the Marine Corps.