HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A sheriff’s office in Florida is mourning the loss of a deputy who was killed in a crash only one shift before he was set to retire, authorities said Monday.
The deputy was identified as Cpl. Brian LaVigne, a 30-year veteran of the force.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said LaVigne was involved in a crash in Brandon. The other driver, Travis Garrett, 28, had been fleeing deputies and had “intentionally” crashed into the driver’s side of LaVigne’s cruiser, authorities said.
“This corporal was murdered, intentionally killed by the suspect,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.
Earlier, the sheriff’s office had received multiple reports of a man throwing clothes and furniture off a balcony at an apartment complex. Deputies responded and found Garrett acting erratically. They said he punched a deputy in the head several times.
Police said they tried to stun him with a taser and that he jumped into a car and took off, crashing through the back gate of the complex.
Authorities said Garrett crossed two lanes and rammed Lavigne’s car as the deputy was making a turn.
The Hillsborough County Fire Rescue extricated Lavigne as his fellow deputies tended to his injuries. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
LaVigne was with the force for more than 30 years and was just one shift away from retirement, Chronister said.
Chronister said in addition to investigating the incident, the department “is doing everything we can as a sheriff’s office family to serve Cpl. LaVigne’s family and honor him as a hero and for the service that he left behind as a teacher, as a mentor, and, again, as someone who unselfishly served this community.”
Garrett remained in the hospital Monday and charges against him were forthcoming.
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