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WASHINGTON — Fairfax County will not charge an officer who shot and killed a man who barricaded himself inside his house in Herndon in January.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh told Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler “that he found no basis for criminal liability” in the death of Mohammad Doudzai, 32, on Jan. 16., Fairfax County Police Department said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Master Officer Lance Guckenberger, a 16-year veteran, shot Doudzai at his town house on Covered Wagon Lane.
Doudzai had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend that day. Morrogh’s report said that Doudzai’s girlfriend later told police he had been using “whippets” — nitrous oxide canisters — for several months.
She called Doudzai’s brothers to the house, where they also argued with him. He eventually shot both his brothers.
His brothers and girlfriend left the house, but Doudzai’s roommate was still inside. Doudzai began firing shots and setting fires inside the house, with the roommate trapped in a bathroom, telling the police on a cellphone that the room was filling up with smoke. Doudzai cut the screen out of a front window with a knife, and had walked outside the house, wielding the knife. He didn’t have the gun on him at the time. He was shot three times in total, and re-entered and left the house after the first shot, the report said.
Another officer shot at Doudzai, but evidently missed, the report said, and a stun gun was used on him after he was shot. He died at a hospital later. The standoff lasted about an hour and a quarter.
“The officers on the scene were confronted with a rapidly evolving and potentially deadly situation,” Morrogh’s report said.
He described Doudzai as being in “a drug-fueled homicidal rage” and said “there was no hope of reasoning with him.” He concluded by saying “it is clear from the evidence that MPO Guckenberger fired his weapon in order to save the life of the hostage.”
The evidence included taped statements, photographs and video taken by police, a news team and neighbors, Morrogh told WTOP. He said he thought the police “demonstrated courage” in the situation, and “saved an innocent life.”
The police said that they would conduct an investigation, and after that, Roessler would decide whether to release the tapes and police video.
“It’s a sad situation any time a life is taken,” Morrogh told WTOP, “but it’s clear to me that the officers did the right thing here.”
The release of Guckenberger’s name didn’t happen until early March, after a court fight. County policy says that the name of an officer in a shooting should be released within 10 days, but the officer filed a suit saying he and his family would be subjected to harm, threats and harassment if his name were made public. A judge issued an order temporarily blocking its release.
Guckenberger was involved in nonfatal shootings in 2005 and 2010, the police said in March. Both were determined to be justified uses of force.
See the report:
WTOP’s Mike Murillo and Jack Moore contributed to this report.
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