Police: Man shot, killed by Fredericksburg officer had ducked court on drug charge

Officer involved shooting in Fredericksburg, Va., Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (ABC7 Chopper)

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- A driver fatally shot by a Fredericksburg officer had been pulled over because he was wanted for failing to appear in court on a felony drug possession charge, police said Wednesday.

City police said Officer Christopher Brossmer has been placed on paid administrative leave while Virginia State Police investigate the shooting death of Travis J. Blair, 33, of Fredericksburg. Police said Brossner, 31, joined the department in July 2013 and worked for its patrol division.

According to police, Blair was driving in the city Tuesday when Brossmer recognized him as the person wanted on an outstanding warrant in adjacent Spotsylvania County. Police said Brossmer pulled Blair over, but the driver refused to obey the officer's commands. Blair drove away, somehow dragging Brossmer about 600 feet before crashing into a ditch, police had said.

Blair fled, and the officer gave chase. State police said Brossmer caught up with the suspect, "an altercation ensued," and the officer's gun discharged. Brossmer, shot in the leg, died about five hours later at a hospital.

Brossmer was not injured, but was checked by medics as a precaution.

Blair was white, police said. They did not disclose Brossmer's race.

Police declined to release further details, including exactly what commands Blair disobeyed, how Brossmer got ensnared by the car, whether the gun was fired on purpose or accidentally, and details about a woman in the car who has been questioned by investigators.

Along with the drug possession charge, online court records in Stafford County show that Blair pleaded guilty in 2014 to embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretenses and was given six months of active jail time.

Steven Blair of Pensacola, Florida, said he feels "no animosity" toward the officer who shot his son.

"I pray for him and his family. But my son and our life is private," Steven Blair told the Free Lance-Star.

A woman who answered Steven Blair's phone and declined to identify herself took a message, but told The Associated Press she didn't think he wanted to say anything more.

On Thursday, Virginia State Police confirmed that Blair died from a single gunshot wound to the leg.

The incident is still be investigated by VSP and once the investigation is completed, the findings will be presented to the Commonwealth's Attorney for final review and adjudication.

This story was updated on Thursday, March 24.

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