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Virginia Police Officer Arraigned on Murder Charge
Case Raises Questions of When Police Are Personally Liable in Shootings
A Fairfax County grand jury in August 2015 indicted a former police officer on charges he murdered an unarmed Springfield man in the doorway of his home.
Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh sought a bench warrant for Adam D. Torres, making him the first police officer in the county’s history to be indicted for murder after shooting someone while on duty.
Torres was fired from his job at the Fairfax County Police Department after shooting 46-year-old John Geer.
Police were called to Geer’s house after neighbors reported a domestic disturbance. Geer had been arguing with his girlfriend.
He reportedly held his hands over his head but had a holstered gun at his feet when he was shot.
The shooting prompted public protests and a county review of police policies and training on use of deadly force. It also coincided with other controversial police shootings in Baltimore, New York and Ferguson, Mo.
The grand jury heard testimony from nearly 20 witnesses over six days before returning the second-degree murder indictment. Forrest was arraigned this week in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Torres told investigators that during a 42-minute standoff on Aug. 29, 2013, Geer displayed the holstered handgun and told two police officers, I have a gun; I will use it if I need to because you guys have guns.
As a police negotiator spoke with Geer, Torres reportedly fired one shot at the homeowner, which surprised the other officers. Geer retreated into his townhouse, where he died minutes later.
Torres later told investigators he did not fire the shot accidentally. He said it was a justified shooting. Torres is represented by attorney John F. Carroll.
Torres fainted in court during his arraignment when a judge set the trial for Dec. 14, 2015.