Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department released body camera footage Thursday of a man who shot a man with a mental health crisis last month at a home in McLean, Virginia.
Aaron Lynch He died after being shot by an officer in Arbor Lane on the night of July 7. He was 26 years old.
Lynch’s parents said the shooting was unprovoked. The county police chief said the officer opened fire as Lynch walked up to the officers while swinging a bottle.
Three officers, all trained in crisis intervention and de-escalation, entered the house in the 6900 block of Arbor Lane after 8 p.m. and immediately confronted Lynch.
“Hello, Aaron. Hello my friend. Whoa,” an officer can be heard saying in a videotape.
Lynch said nothing before the confrontation quickly escalated.
“Put it aside, let it go, let it go,” says one officer.
Police say Lynch was holding an African mask and a large bottle in the other. They said he did not heed the officers’ orders.
The officers fired their tasers, and Lynch continued to advance. Police say he kept swinging the bottle. An officer fired four times, and Lynch was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We can’t say it enough — any use of force shown in the video, particularly any lethal use of force, is certainly hard to watch. It’s hard for us to watch. It’s hard for you to watch, hard for family,” said President Kevin Davis. watch it.”
Lynch’s parents watched the footage. They said in a statement that their son was suffering from an “acute mental health crisis” and asked to call 911 twice that day.
“As parents, we mourn the tragic loss of our son and are left with nothing but memories and regrets. Had we known there was any chance that the police responding to the second call to 911 would use lethal force against Aaron during his mental health crisis, we would not have engaged them until a mental health counselor attended, As was the case with the answer. To the first 911 call.”
Shortly before the shooting, three officers arrived at the house, in a residential neighborhood of large homes, and questioned Lynch’s sister about her brother’s behavior. It was their second visit to the house that night.
The county mental health doctor was on the scene on the previous visit but was unavailable for the second call.
Davis was questioned about why the officers did not retreat or attempt to deal with Lynch rather than use lethal force.
“Police officers — you know their presence and then their repeated demands for Mr. Lynch to bring down what was in his hands amounted to verbal de-escalation, and then when electronic control weapons or stun guns were used, that less lethal force, I think this represented another progressive effort to use force Less than lethal to handle the situation.”
Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department has been involved in five shootings so far this year. By comparison, there were three shootings by police in 2013, two in 2014, none in 2015, one from 2016 to 2019, two in 2020 and one last year.
Davis said his officers regularly respond to calls to service in which someone is experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis. He said they answered more than 6,700 calls this year. That’s an average of 33 calls per day. Among those calls, Davis said, police used force less than 1% of the time.
Police shot and killed a man in McLean, Virginia, on Thursday night, police said. Jackie Bunsen reports from News4.
Here’s the Lynch family’s full statement:
“Our son, Aaron, had a severe mental health crisis on July 7. He was frightened and was told to make the 911 calls that were made that day. We believe the three police officers who answered the second 911 call could, and should have, ,Dealing with this very differently.Responding to Aaron’s mental health crisis cannot be justified by ever shooting him,let alone many times.We are aware that police officers, on occasion, face serious and unknown risks in the line of duty, but it hasn’t been Such is the case for that call in our house regarding our son.Aaron was about 5’6″, slightly brown, carrying nothing but a bottle and a decorative mask.
As parents, we mourn the tragic loss of our son and are left with nothing but memories and regrets. Had we known there was any possibility that the police responding to the second call to 911 would use lethal force against Aaron during his mental health crisis, we would not have engaged them until a mental health counselor had attended, as was the case for the response. For the first 911 call. We hope that our efforts to learn more about this incident will, in the future, help families in similar situations to avoid such a tragic outcome.”