Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, have released body-worn and dashboard camera footage showing events that led to officers killing an armed man in the Springfield Town Center parking lot last month.
The Fairfax County Police Department said 37-year-old Christian Parker, a Reston resident, was shot dead in his car on Thursday, June 30, after refusing multiple orders to drop a handgun. A relative of Parker’s notified police he had stolen the weapon, threatened a family member and fired inside their home before fleeing; nobody was injured.
Police fielded a tip placing Parker at the Springfield mall on that Thursday afternoon, after securing a warrant for his arrest on charges including firearm possession by a felon — according to Chief of Police Kevin Davis, Parker was “very well-known to the criminal justice system” and had previously been convicted on a handgun charge.
Officers found Parker’s car outside the mall. When Parker returned to his car, police moved to box him in and prevent him from driving off. Police dashboard footage shows Parker rushing into the driver’s side of his car after noticing the approaching officers.
The nearly 10-minute video, which includes police dashcam and body-worn camera footage from multiple perspectives, can be viewed online.
Officers are seen surrounding the car with weapons raised and are heard shouting for Parker to surrender: “Show me your f*cking hands, or I will shoot you,” one officer yells. “He’s got a gun,” another screams, at which point the video highlights a gun in Parker’s hand visible through the rear windshield.
An officer said he saw Parker swing his weapon from side to side and point the barrel in the direction of police. After what the department said was over 30 commands to drop the gun and surrender, two officers opened fire. A total of eight shots were fired; Parker was hit six times.
Police smashed the window of Parker’s locked vehicle with a baton, pulled him out and rendered first aid. He died of his wounds at a hospital. A .45 caliber Glock 30 handgun was later recovered from inside the car.
At a news conference Friday, Chief Davis backed officers’ decision to surround Parker at his car as one that was necessary to protect the public.
“If we were to have backed up, if we would have tactically repositioned ourselves, it would have afforded him an opportunity to do a number of different things that would have been very dangerous to the community at-large,” Davis said.
“They’re dealing with a person who’s armed and dangerous, and they’re in a crowded shopping center parking lot, filled with mothers, fathers and children. I think they were brave, I think they acted lawfully and in compliance with our policies and community expectations.”
The two officers involved remain on administrative leave as the investigation unfolds.