No charges for officers who shot, killed armed man at Springfield mall

Fairfax County, Virginia’s, top prosecutor will not bring any criminal charges against the officers who shot and killed an armed man at the parking lot of Springfield Town Center.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said that his investigation found that the two officers who fired their weapons at Christian Parker, 37, of Reston, were “reasonable” in fearing that he intended to “either kill an officer on scene or cause serious bodily harm to one of the officers.” Therefore, the level of force used was “legally permissible,” he added.

Descano’s office reviewed reports, interviewed witnesses and inspected body cameras, as well as evidence in its investigation.

Body camera video showed Parker swinging his weapon from side to side and pointing the barrel in the direction of police with his hand on the trigger. Interviews with police officers confirmed the footage.

As Parker continued, the report said that the two officers felt that they were in danger, and one of them fired his weapon. A second officer heard the gunshot and saw the side window break. Coupled with what Parker was doing, he believed that Parker fired at the other officer. That’s when the second officer discharged his weapon. The two officers fired multiple rounds each; Parker was hit with six.

From the time the first officer fired his weapon, police gave between 30 to 40 commands to Parker, all of which he did not follow, Descano said. The fact that the second officer incorrectly thought that Parker fired his weapon “does not negate” that the level of force used was permissible because the “perception was reasonable based on the facts and circumstances presented to him,” Descano said.

On June 30, police received a tip that Parker would be at the Springfield Town Center. He was wanted over an incident that happened days earlier, when police said he stole a handgun from a family member in Fairfax County, fired the weapon inside the house, and fled on foot.

Officers working the Summer Crime Initiative, who received a picture of the man and a lookout vehicle, saw the him and the car around 4:30 p.m.

When Parker returned to his car, police moved to box him in and prevent him from driving off.

Fairfax County police Chief Kevin Davis said in June that Parker was “very well-known to the criminal justice system.”

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up