A Florida police officer has been killed in the line of duty just one day before his retirement when a suspect intentionally crashed into his police cruiser.
Master Corporal Brian LaVigne’s cruiser was rammmed at a high rate of speed and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue tried for several minutes to extricate him from from the vehicle and tend to his injuries. Despite their courageous efforts and those on frontlines at Tampa General Hospital, Master Corporal LaVigne passed away while in the line of duty.
It is with great sadness that I convey this heartbreaking news, Master Corporal Brian LaVigne was killed in the line of duty earlier tonight. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of Team HCSO as we mourn his loss. pic.twitter.com/Q1zWCkzEM7
— Chad Chronister (@ChadChronister) January 12, 2021
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in Florida said that the incident occurred at approximately 3:42 p.m. on Jan. 11 when authorities received a report from the Paddock Club Apartments in Brandon, Florida, that a man had been “throwing property out of his apartment window and front door” and that the individual had allegedly threatened to harm himself in the past.
However, when deputies arrived, they spoke to the man in question through the door and determined that there was no cause to arrest the individual at the time.
Another call was made about 90 minutes later at 5:03 p.m. reporting another disturbance and that the same man was now nude and acting erratically.
HCSO deputies returned to the apartments for a second time and say 28-year-old Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett had become combative and struck responding officer Michael Durig Jr. multiple times.
“It was then that the second responding deputy, Adam Pautz, deployed his taser once without success, forcing Deputy Durig to deploy his taser two times, also without success,” the HCSO said in a statement.
Garrett then reportedly jumped into his vehicle and fled the scene while Deputy Durig and Deputy Pautz chased the suspect before he crashed through a gated entrance to the apartment complex and made his way onto Brandon Parkway where the high speed pursuit was picked up by 54-year-old Master Corporal Brian LaVigne.
The pursuit ended with the suspect fatally crashing into LaVigne’s cruiser.
In a press conference on Monday evening, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Connister said that LaVigne, who had spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, was just one day away from retirement and was due to work one final shift on Jan. 13 before retiring.
“Master Corporal Brian LaVigne has been a part of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office family since 1990, and he was just days away from retirement,” said Sherriff Chad Connister. We will never forget Master Corporal LaVigne for laying down his life in the line of duty or the response of his squad members who did everything they could to ensure that the individual responsible for his death was apprehended.”