Florida deputy killed in crash one shift away from retirement

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Florida deputy killed in crash one shift away from retirement

A Florida deputy died Monday after a suspect intentionally crashed into his cruiser in the Brandon area, according to authorities. Master Corporal

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A Florida deputy died Monday after a suspect intentionally crashed into his cruiser in the Brandon area, according to authorities. 

Master Corporal Brian LaVigne, 54, who spend more than 30 years in service, was just one day away from retirement, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a press conference Monday evening. 

“You can imagine the heartache that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is experiencing right now,” Chronister said.

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Police said the suspect, Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett, 28, intentionally switched two lanes before ramming his car into the driver’s side of LaVigne’s cruiser during a pursuit. The impact left the deputy unconscious and trapped in his cruiser. 

Emergency personnel were able to free LaVigne, who was pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital, Chronister said.

Neighbors called police around 5 p.m. to report that Garrett, was outside at an apartment complex in Brandon, unclothed, and throwing things — including cookies.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister speaks during a press conference Monday. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister speaks during a press conference Monday. 
(Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities tried to talk to Garrett, who started “violently striking” a deputy in the head with such force that it knocked the deputy on the ground, the sheriff said. Another deputy tried to deploy his Taser twice, but it was ineffective. 

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Chronister said Garrett got into his car and slammed through the back gate — leading to the chase.

Garrett was taken to the hospital after the crash, Fox 13 of Tampa Bay reported.

“Again there will be additional charges coming for killing this deputy as he murdered him by intentionally ramming his vehicle,” Chronister said. He added that Garrett hasn’t been formally charged at this time. 

LaVigne is survived by his wife and two children, one of whom is also a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, authorities said.

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“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,” Chronister said. 

Brandon is located about 12 miles east of downtown Tampa.

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