The Fairfax County Police Department released dashboard and body camera footage today (Friday) from the fatal police shooting at Springfield Town Center last month.
An approximately 9-minute and 30-second video shows footage from dash cams and body cameras edited together to show the police response from Thursday, June 30, to the shopping center parking lot.
According to the FCPD, the officers knew Reston resident Christian Parker, 37, was there and was wanted for stealing a gun from a Reston home days before, after he pointed it at a relative and discharged it.
“When we obtain an arrest warrant for someone, particularly someone who’s wanted for a violent crime, a felony, it’s an absolute priority for the department to take them into custody because they’re a danger to themselves, their family,” Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a press conference. “It was a priority to apprehend him.”
After officers blocked Parker’s vehicle in, they demanded multiple times that he show his hands or put down a gun. They then shot him.
“Our officers were faced with a very dangerous situation,” Davis said. “I think they were brave. I think they acted lawfully and in compliance with our policies and community expectations. Watching a use-of-force on a video or seeing it in person, it’s never pretty, especially when someone’s life is lost. We realize that and take it seriously.”
Davis also said a best case scenario would have been to get Parker before he got into the car.
“One of the goals of apprehending him was for him not to go mobile,” he said. “We don’t want to get into a situation where we’re chasing someone in a car, because then, exponentially more people are in danger.”
Note: The following video contains strong language and is not safe for work.
The video shows an officer in a vehicle watching as Parker returns to his car and appears to be checking his back tires. The officer drives straight ahead into a parking spot behind the car and says over the radio to “box him in.”
Parker gets into the car as another police vehicle parks in front of the car, blocking him into the spot. An officer runs to the driver’s side of the car pointing a gun at Parker and shouting “show me your hands.” Another officer in front of the vehicle also points his gun at Parker in the car and says “he’s reaching.”
The officers continue to shout “show me your hands” and “put your hands in the air.” One officer shouts “Show me your [expletive] hands, I will shoot you.”
Officers then shout that he has a gun. Video from the dashboard of one of the vehicles shows Parker raise his right hand with an object in it. Police said they later recovered the stolen firearm in the vehicle.
Police ask multiple times again for Parker to drop the gun. One officer warns “you’re going to get shot.”
Then, two officers discharged their weapons. Police said the two officers shot eight times total, striking Parker with six of those shots.
The video shows officers continuing to ask Parker to show his hands after the shooting and to drop the gun, as one asks for rescue to respond to the scene.
“He’s down but I don’t see the gun,” one officer said as they tried to determine how to get to the car to render aid for at least a few minutes of the video.
Officers broke a window to be able to get to him in the car and carried him to the ground, where they began to try to render aid.
Police said Parker was transported to a hospital, where he then died.
Davis said the investigation is still sorting through the particulars of whether the gun was pointed at officers, or in the process of being pointed or held in a manner otherwise threatening.
“But the mere possession of a deadly weapon, a firearm in this case, just feet away from uniformed police officers in a crowded shopping center, I think it’s objectively reasonable to consider that person very dangerous not just to the police officers, but to the shoppers and passerbyers and civilians,” he said. “It could’ve been a much, much more dramatic situation if he got out of that car with a gun.”
It’s going to be a cold and rainy weekend in Fairfax County, thanks to Tropical Storm Ophelia. Tracking to make landfall in North Carolina today (Friday), the storm is expected to reach Northern Virginia tonight.
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