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Fairfax Police Chief Backs SWAT Officer Shooting Armed Suspect in Falls Church

The head of the Fairfax County Police Department said police took “proportionate, legal and necessary levels of use of force” following the shooting an armed suspect in Falls Church.

Fairfax County police said earlier today that a Special Weapons and Tactics Team officer shot a suspect “brandishing an assault-style weapon” last night in a house in the 7600 block of Lee Landing Drive.

In an update this afternoon, Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said that the SWAT officers were serving a narcotics search warrant and two arrest warrants for felony distribution of marijuana and failure to appear for a probation violation in another jurisdiction.

“To serve the high-risk warrants safely, the SWAT team made multiple verbal announcements of their presence upon tactical entry of the home,” Roessler said.

David Vo, a 24-year-old Falls Church resident, confronted SWAT officers in the kitchen, pointing an assault-style weapon at them, according to police.

Vo was struck with one round in the leg, which “neutralized his threat,” before the SWAT team continued the search of the house, Roessler said. Vo was taken to a hospital and treated for the injury before being transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Two of Vo’s kids, who are under the age of 4, and his girlfriend were in the house and unharmed during the incident, Roessler said.

“After the home was secured by the SWAT team, multiple unsecured firearms were in plain view and other narcotics were found in the home,” Roessler said.

Roessler said that the SWAT team was chosen to conduct the search after a risk assessment of the warrants determined the search to be “high risk” because of Vo’s “history of domestic assault and shooting at a vehicle.”

Capt. Jason Allegra with FCPD’s Narcotics Division said that two assault-style weapons, a pistol and narcotics were found at the house.

Allegra said that Vo will face the following additional charges:

  • possession of a firearm by a felon
  • distribution of marijauna while possessing a firearm
  • possession of a firearm with schedule 1 or 2 drug
  • ammunition possession by a felon
  • felony distribution of marijuana
  • drug possession schedule 1 or 2

The Major Crimes Bureau is conducting a criminal investigation into the use of force and the Internal Affairs Bureau is conducting an administrative investigation. The Police Auditor is also independently reviewing the incident, according to the police department.

“The name of the officer will be released by Chief Roessler within 10 days,” the press release from earlier today said.

The involved officer is a 16-year veteran of the police department, who, per department policy, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal and administrative investigations, according to the press release.

“In my professional opinion, this is proportionate, legal and necessary to defend the lives of the officers as an assault weapon was pointed at the officers,” Roessler said about the shooting.

Roessler praised the officer on the SWAT team for the quick response.

“I support the pulling of the trigger by my officer,” Roessler said.

Roessler would not comment on whether or not Vo’s weapon was loaded or how many rounds were fired by the SWAT officer.

“We knew we were going into a violent situation,” Roessler said. “No lives were lost.”

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