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John Geer's family wants answers in Springfield shooting | News

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John Geer's family wants answers in Springfield shooting

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WUSA9) -- It's been more than a year since a police officer shot and killed an unarmed man in Fairfax County, but no charges have been filed in the case.

In August 2013, an unidentified officer shot and killed John Geer, who was standing in the front door of his home in the 7900 block of Pebble Brook Court. Police had been called to the scene for a domestic dispute.

Sixteen months after Geer was killed, his father is still looking for an explanation from police.

Don Geer witnessed the shooting of his son. He was called by a friend of his son's and arrived to see officers with their guns drawn and at least one pointed at his son. Pictures taken by neighbors show John Geer with his hands raised in his door way.

Don Geer says his son had his hands raised for about a half an hour and lowered them slightly. He says as his son's elbows fell in alignment with his shoulders, but hands still in air, that's when he heard the shot.

Don Geer says he watched his son grab his side, where he'd been hit, and use his other hand to close the door. Don Geer said he wanted to help, but police 'herded him like cattle' away from the scene. He said he was in shock, but assumed police would administer medical attention. They did not, his son "bled out," Don Geer said.

More than an hour later, after a tank arrived and rolled toward John Geer's front door, heavily armed officers wearing camouflage went in the door and found John Geer dead.

The United States Justice Department is investigating the case, and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has asked them to wrap it up.


WUSA9 has learned from sources that the initial investigation at the Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney office stalled because the Fairfax County Police Department would not cooperate and provide necessary files.

In February, Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Morrogh handed the case over to the U.S. Justice Department citing a conflict of interest.

Last month on November 13, Senator Charles Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent letters to both Fairfax County Police and United States Attorney Dana Boente inquiring about the investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik responded saying in reference to the ten months since it had received the case, that "litigation concerning evidence sought from the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) consumed two months of that time."

"There have been a number of challenges in investigating this case. Issues concerning withheld materials were favorable litigated by the Department in a court matter that it and remains filed under seal," Kadzik stated.

Don Geer's attorney, who's filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of Geer's family says there was no justification for the shooting. Michael Lieberman says if John Geer has made any furtive move, more than one officer would've fired. He points to a photo that shows two officers in front of Geer's house. One officer has his gun pointed to the ground, another police several feet away appears to be pointing his gun directly at Geer.

Maura Harrington, John Geer's longtime girlfriend and the mother of their two children had called police because he was agitated that she was moving out and was throwing her things outside the home. When asked, she told police that there were guns in the home, but never said he was holding one, says Lieberman.

Fairfax County Police Chief Col. Edwin Roessler, Jr. wrote in his letter to Sen. Grassley that "Mr. Geer was reported by the complainant to be armed." Fairfax County has not released the 911 call to verify that information.

Don Geer says he was told a gun was found about eight feet away from his son, but it was unloaded and still in a holster.

A petition has been set up calling for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to appoint a Citizen Complaint Oversight Board to investigate.

Written by Peggy Fox


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