FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (7News) — A man suspected of driving a stolen U-Haul is dead after a confrontation with a Fairfax County police officer that led to a shooting and crash Thursday afternoon, Chief Kevin Davis said.
Around 4:30 p.m., the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) reported that one of its officers was involved in a "struggle" with a man, identified as Brandon Lemagne, 38, at a gas station parking lot in the 6300 block of Richmond Highway. Officers reportedly fired their guns during the struggle, killing Lemagne at the scene, police said.
FCPD said no officers were injured by gunfire during the incident. However, one officer was injured in the fight with the suspect.
According to Davis, the officer was responding to investigate a stolen U-Haul out of Richmond, Virginia that was spotted in the Alexandria section of the county. The officer pulled into the gas station to talk to the driver who was standing outside the U-Haul. Richmond Police told 7News Friday they received a report of an "unauthorized use" of a U-Haul vehicle Tuesday around 9 a.m. on East Belt Boulevard.
"The assailant -- and that's what I'm calling him -- the assailant in this matter shoved our police officer into the open front driver's door of his marked police car and was attacking him, was on top of him and was violently assaulting our uniform Fairfax County police officer," said Davis, "and I believe that's depicted on some of the video footage that you all have already obtained."
A video posted to social media by a citizen journalist shows the encounter between the man and the officer. [WARNING: This video has explicit language and violence and some might not find it safe for viewing.]
As this is all happening, the officer is on his radio saying he's being attacked and that the assailant has his gun, Davis said.
As other officers are arriving on the scene, the marked police are put in reverse and slam into a parked car at a nearby McDonad's parking lot. Police said the cruiser then struck a business and came to a stop. Lemagne continued his assault on the officer as two officers arrived on the scene.
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In the video, you can hear the initial shooting. You then see other responding officers pull the man from the marked patrol car and then you hear more gunshots. Davis said the responding officers had to pull the man off the officer in the car.
Lemagne was pronounced dead at the scene.
"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," Davis added.
7 News investigated Lemagne's past Friday and found in 2015 in York County, Virginia, he was also accused of assaulting officers, in addition to a charge for allegedly escaping jail. Court records indicate prosecutors did not pursue the charges.
Lemagne has also faced many fraud and money related charges over the years, according to court records.
7 News reached out to an email listed for a family member of Lemagne's. We received a reply Friday afternoon that said:
"I WANT a press conference
A comment is NOT good enough for me."
SKYTrak7 was over the scene Thursday evening.
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A couple at the scene said they were almost caught in the crosshairs of it all. Asante Tyrek was getting off work when he met up with his girlfriend and realized something wasn’t right.
“We both got out to see what was going on, I heard a shoot-out going back and forth,” Tyrek said.
“The gunshots were really close to my car, and I hurried up and zoomed off and then a police officer zoomed up and almost hit my car,” said his girlfriend, Ramyia Pegus.
Police said briefing Thursday afternoon the incident could have resulted in a very different conversation.
“I am just glad our police officer is okay because this could have been an entirely different story,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said.
The officer who was assaulted suffered scrapes, and bruises and his eye was bloodied.
Davis said he has seen the body-camera footage and says it will offer even more details into the incident.
Police are speaking to witnesses and reviewing video of the incident.
Part of Richmond Highway was closed at the intersection of N. Kings Highway and Shields Avenue as police investigated the incident but has since reopened.
The officers involved in the shooting have been identified as a 24-year veteran and an eight-year veteran both assigned to the Mount Vernon Police District. As per department policy, the officers have been placed on restricted duty status, pending the outcome of the criminal and administrative investigation.