Fla. Officer Killed in High-Speed Chase 1 Day Before He Was Set to Retire

A Florida police officer was killed in a high-speed chase with a suspect one day before he was set to retire.

On Monday afternoon, Hillsborough County deputies responded to reports from the Paddock Club Apartments in Brandon of a man allegedly "throwing property out of his apartment window and front door." The man was later identified as 28-year-old Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett, Sheriff Chad Connister said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

However, after speaking with Garrett through the door, deputies determined there was no cause to arrest him at the time.

Ninety minutes later, shortly after 5 p.m., authorities received another call reporting a disturbance and that Garrett was allegedly naked and harassing neighbors, Connister said.

When deputies attempted to speak with Garrett a second time, he allegedly became combative and began hitting one officer, Michael Durig Jr., in the head with such force it knocked him to the ground.

After deputies made multiple failed attempts of subduing Garrett with their tasers, he allegedly jumped into his vehicle and fled the scene. When he made his way onto the Brandon Parkway, Master Corporal Brian LaVigne began a high-speed pursuit.

"According to several witnesses, [Garrett] intentionally rammed into Master Corporal Brian LaVigne at a high rate of speed," the Sheriff's Office alleged in a news release. "Fellow deputies worked heroically to try and tend to his injuries, while Hillsborough County Fire Rescue attempted to extricate Master Corporal LaVigne for several minutes. Despite their courageous efforts and those on frontlines at Tampa General Hospital, Master Corporal LaVigne passed away while in the line of duty."

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LaVigne, 54, had spent more than 30 years working in law enforcement and was one day away from retiring. He is survived by his wife, and two adult children, one of whom is also a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, according to the news release.

"Master Corporal Brian LaVigne has been a part of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office family since 1990, and he was just days away from retirement," Connister said in a statement. "We will never forget Master Corporal LaVigne for laying down his life in the line of duty or the response of his squad members who did everything they could to ensure that the individual responsible for his death was apprehended."

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the fatal incident and charges against Garrett are forthcoming, according to the news release. He does not have any arrest history in Hillsborough County. It's unclear whether he has retained an attorney to comment on his behalf.

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