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Ex-Fairfax officer indicted on murder charge for ’13 shooting

Former Fairfax County police officer, Adam Torres, was charged with the second-degree murder of John Geer on Monday, August 17, 2015, following an indictment returned by a special grand jury convened in the case. (Fairfax County Police Department)

WASHINGTON — A former Fairfax County police officer turned himself in after being indicted on a murder charge for the shooting death of a Springfield man in August 2013.

A grand jury has decided to charge Adam Torres with second-degree murder for the death of John Geer, who was standing in the door of his home and whose friends and family say was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Torres turned himself in to detectives Monday evening, police say. He was brought to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where he is being held on no bond.

The grand jury began meeting in July to hear evidence and decide whether Torres would face criminal charges in the case. The police department announced last week that Torres no longer works for the county.

Chief  Edwin C. Roessler Jr.  confirmed Monday that Torres was terminated from the department on July 31 for violating “policies and procedures on the use of force.”

“My decision was the use of force was not reasonably necessary in this matter,” Roessler says.

Police refused to release Torres’ name until a court ruling forced the department release a cache of documents related to the ongoing investigation. Earlier this year, the county approved a $2.95 million settlement that went to Geer’s two teen daughters.

Sharon Bulova, chairwoman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, says the county “learned a lot” about sharing information in a “timely way” and says there was room for improvement.

“I have every confidence that this scenario won’t happen again,” Bulova says.

Police were called to Geer’s home to investigate a report of a domestic dispute on Aug. 29, 2013. After an hours’ long impasse, during which Geer refused to leave his house, Torres shot Geer in the chest, killing him. An autopsy found that Geer bled to death.

“To the men and women of the Fairfax County Police Department and our great community, [I give] my heartfelt sympathy to everybody because the loss of life in this case impacts the Geer family and all of us,” Roessler  says.

“Obviously it’s a tragic situation all around for John’s family and for Torres’ family, but it’s the system and I think the right decisions were made,” says Jeff Stewart, John Geer’s friend who was at the Springfield home when Geer was shot.

The long delay in the investigation triggered a U.S. Justice Department investigation and calls from members of Congress for the county to release more information. Meanwhile, the county is now seeking a new attorney and a special commission was convened to review the police department’s use of force and transparency policies.

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