Man who attacked officer inside patrol vehicle shot and killed by Fairfax Co. police, chief says

Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, said one of their officers shot and killed a man in a McDonald’s parking lot after that man assaulted another officer and stole his service weapon while inside a police cruiser.

The shooting happened near the intersection of Route 1 and N. Kings Highway, in the Huntington area, around 4 p.m. No officers were shot during the incident.

Video posted to Twitter by Killmoenetwork shows the cruiser reversing out of a Citgo gas station and crashing at the McDonald’s. Gunshots can be heard before a responding officer approaches the crashed cruiser, pulls the man who was on top of the other officer out of the police car, and shoots him.

Police said it all started when one of their officers spotted a U-Haul that had been reported stolen out of Richmond, Virginia, at the gas station, which is right next to the McDonald’s.

When the officer showed up to the Citgo, the driver of the U-Haul was already outside the vehicle. Shortly after the officer made contact with the driver, the driver shoved the officer into his own police cruiser, according to Fairfax County Chief of Police Chief Kevin Davis.

“The assailant in this matter shoved our police officer into the open, front driver’s door of his marked police car and was attacking him, was on top of him, and was violently assaulting our uniformed Fairfax County Police officer,” Davis said.

The cruiser was then put into reverse, and spun from the gas station to the McDonald’s parking lot, crashing into bushes and a parked car along the way, according to Davis.

“All the while, our police officer is on his radio, making several radio transmissions that he’s being attacked. He also relays during his radio transmissions several times that our assailant has his gun, has his gun,” Davis said. “He was fighting for his life, literally.”

Responding officers arrived at the McDonald’s and one of them started firing several rounds. Another officer ran toward the crashed cruiser and pulled the assailant off the police officer who had been attacked, Davis said.

“Then that Fairfax County Police officer discharges his firearm, striking the assailant, who was pronounced dead on the scene.”

Davis said the officer who shot and killed the man is a 24-year veteran of the force and is a hero.

The officer who Davis said was attacked was taken to the hospital with scrapes, bruises and a bloodied eye. The police chief said he was “banged up,” but was expected to be discharged from the hospital Thursday night.

The man who is accused of assaulting the officer and who was shot has not been identified.

“This scene was highly unusual, and I’ve been on a lot of these scenes,” Davis said. “I’ve never quite seen something like this. That police officer was literally inside of his own police car fighting for his life.”

Route 1 was briefly closed both ways at the intersection of N. Kings Highway and Shields Avenue, according to Fairfax County Police. All southbound lanes reopened and the northbound left lane reopened around 6 p.m., according to the WTOP Traffic Center.

Multiple witnesses who saw what happened shared their accounts with WTOP. Lori Terry said she was driving northbound on Route 1 when she saw the cruiser crash close to the McDonald’s. Then, she said she saw a police officer pull his service weapon and start shooting at the crashed police cruiser.

“This is a McDonald’s, so there’s people on the street. I could hear screams. It was scary,” she said.

Another witness who was at the McDonald’s shortly before it happened, said the cruiser would have hit her if she hadn’t left the restaurant when she did.

“I just feel like life is short and I’m just glad I’m alive right now because that could have been me who’s dead on the ground,” Ramyia Pegues told WTOP. “I really didn’t expect this to happen to me and I was in shock, and I’m just glad to be here.”

Police reopened all lanes on Richmond Highway after a 13-hour investigation.

Below is a map of where the shooting happened:

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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