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Florida deputy who was one shift away from retirement was killed by a man fleeing officers


Associated Press

TAMPA — A Florida sheriff's deputy with one shift left before retirement was intentionally hit and killed by a man fleeing law enforcement, officials said.

Cpl. Brian LaVigne, 54, had spent three decades at the department and was set to work his final day on Tuesday, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a Monday night news conference.

Deputies took 28-year-old Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett into custody on Monday night, and multiple charges are pending, the sheriff said.

“He had never hit the brakes,” Chronister said. “There were no skid marks. He was intentionally running that car into the corporal’s car.”

[Watch video of a press conference by Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister]

HCSO Corporal dies in the line of duty

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fatal accident that claimed the life of one of our own Monday evening. At approximately 3:42 p.m. on January 11, 2021, HCSO received a 911 call from management at Paddock Club Apartments, located at 921 Paddock Club Drive in Brandon. The caller reported that a black male had been throwing property out of his apartment window and front door. The caller also stated that this individual has threatened to harm staff in the past. Deputies spoke to the man through the door, but there was no cause for arrest at the time. Later, at approximately 5:03 p.m., another disturbance is called into HCSO's Communications Bureau. This time, a neighbor called to report that a black male was nude and acting erratically. Again, management from the Paddock Club Apartments called to report the same complaint. When deputies arrived at the scene the second time, they attempted to establish a dialogue with Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett, 28, but were unsuccessful. Garrett then became combative and struck one of the responding deputies, 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. Garrett fled in his car, while Deputy Durig and Deputy Pautz gave chase. Deputy Pautz tries to block Garrett, however, Garrett is able to get past him and crashes through one of the apartment complex's gated entrances. Garrett continued to flee onto Brandon Parkway, and then westbound onto Lumsden Road, where, according to several witnesses, he intentionally rammed into Master Corporal Brian LaVigne at a high rate of speed. Master Corporal LaVigne was operating his marked HCSO vehicle. Master Corporal LaVigne's fellow deputies worked heroically to try and tend to his injuries, while Hillsborough County Fire Rescue attempted to extricate Master Corporal LaVigne for several minutes. Despite their courageous efforts and those on frontlines at Tampa General Hospital, Master Corporal LaVigne passed away while in the line of duty. "๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฎ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—›๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐˜€๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต ๐—–๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐˜๐˜† ๐—ฆ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ'๐˜€ ๐—ข๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—น๐˜† ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿต๐Ÿต๐Ÿฌ, ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ท๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜," ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐—ฆ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ. "๐—ช๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ป ๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐˜๐˜† ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜€๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ผ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜†๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ." Master Corporal LaVigne was set to retire this week. He was 54 years old. He is survived by his wife, and two adult children, one of whom is also a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. HCSO is investigating the fatal incident and charges against Garrett are forthcoming. He does not have any arrest history in Hillsborough County, but he was previously Baker Acted in Pasco County.

Posted by Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on Monday, January 11, 2021

What led to the crash

Earlier Monday afternoon, deputies were called to Garrett’s apartment regarding erratic behavior. Garrett had reportedly thrown furniture and clothing off his balcony at an apartment complex in Brandon, near Tampa.

Deputies spoke to Garrett through the door, but since no crime had been committed, they cleared the call, the sheriff said.

A short time later, residents called the sheriff's office saying Garrett was nude and was throwing food at neighbors, the sheriff said. This time when deputies arrived, Garrett began attacking them, hitting Deputy Michael Durig, Jr. in the head multiple times, officials said.

Multiple attempts to use a Taser on Garrett were unsuccessful, the sheriff said. Garrett then got into a car. The sheriff said Garrett rammed through a back gate and crossed two lanes of traffic to intentionally hit LaVigne’s marked patrol car on the driver side with the front of his car, Chronister said.

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The scene at the crash

Garrett went “as fast as he could make that car go,” the sheriff said.

The crash scene was so destructive that deputies couldn't immediately reach LaVigne, who was unresponsive, Chronister said.

“He’s unconscious,” Chronister said. “They’re doing everything they can, from breaking windows, trying to crawl in from the back window.”

Firefighters eventually used tools to free him. He was taken to a hospital, but he died from his injuries.

LaVigne is survived by his wife and two children, one of whom is also a deputy at the sheriff's office.

“You could only imagine the pain they’re going through being only one shift away from retirement,” Chronister said.