Florida Deputy, 30-Year Veteran, Killed the Day Before Retirement by Suspect in Pursuit
Hillsborough County, FL – A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Corporal was killed the day before his retirement after a suspect plowed into his vehicle during a pursuit.
Corporal Brian LaVigne, 54 years old, was sitting in his car with the overhead lights activated on the shoulder of Lumsden Road, not involved in the pursuit of 28-year-old Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett by other officers.
Garrett sped away from officers in a Nissan Maxima and suddenly veered across two lanes of traffic and to the right, towards LaVigne’s patrol car. Over the radio, one of the deputies in pursuit yelled, “He’s aiming for your car. Get out of the way, get out of the way!”
Reportedly, the car moved about one foot forward before Garrett crashed into LaVigne. LaVigne was extracted from the vehicle by fire rescue and taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased. The report said the damage to the vehicle was “catastrophic.”
LaVigne leaves behind a wife and two children, one of whom is also a deputy at HCSO. He was a 30-year veteran of the HCSO.
— ODMP.org (@ODMP) January 12, 2021
Officers had been called to Garrett’s residence twice at the Paddock Club Brandon Apartments on reports of Garrett throwing clothes and furniture off his balcony. Those calls found no crimes committed. Then they were called again after people reported that Garrett was walking around naked acting strangely and breaking things.
Garrett allegedly attacked the officers. A taser was not successful in subduing him and he fled in his car.
Garrett was taken to a hospital. Reportedly, an initial toxicology report showed the presence of THC and cocaine. He was remotely booked into Hillsborough County jail custody Tuesday morning on the charges of first-degree murder, DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer for fighting with deputies before fleeing, two counts of resisting arrest with violence, felony criminal mischief, and aggravated fleeing to elude.
Garrett doesn’t have extensive criminal history but he does have reported mental health issues.