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    Family of Fairfax County man shot, killed by police during mental health crisis files wrongful death suit

    By Max Marcilla,


    FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. ( DC News Now ) — The family of a man who was shot and killed by Fairfax County police during a mental health crisis has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

    26-year-old Aaron Lynch was killed in July 2022 after police responded to multiple calls describing Lynch experiencing a crisis.

    The suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Wednesday and first reported by the Washington Post, details the incident and casts blame on both the officers for negligence and recklessness in their response and Chief Kevin Davis for inadequate training.

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    Just before 7 p.m., on July 7, 2022, Lynch’s family friend called 911 because Lynch was experiencing a mental health crisis. The caller reiterated that Lynch did not have a violent past nor were their weapons in the family’s McLean home.

    Three officers and a mental health clinician arrived at the home after the call was made, but after they were unable to find Lynch, they left.

    At 8:30 p.m., Lynch’s twin sister arrived from New York. Her boyfriend called 911, similarly describing Lynch’s mental health crisis, describing how he was throwing and breaking objects inside the home.

    The three officers who responded, all of whom were listed as defendants in the suit, arrived minutes later and went inside the home.

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    What happened next was captured on police body-worn camera and shared with the public about a month after the shooting. Lynch, holding a decorative mask in one hand and a wine bottle in the other, was in the home. He threw the mask toward officers who were standing just inside the front door. Two officers deployed their tasers as Lynch ran, with the bottle still in hand, toward the officers and the door.

    As he was running, Lynch dropped the bottle, but was shot four times. As he got to the front door, one of the officers tackled him. Then, during what Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Steve Descano, called “a struggle,” Lynch was fatally shot.

    Descano declined to charge any of the three officers.

    In his report on the shooting, Decsano wrote that it was “not unreasonable” for the officers to believe Lynch still had the bottle, which he was swinging, in his hand due to how dark the home was at the time. Because of that, he wrote the officer who fired the fifth and final shot “reasonably believed Mr. Lynch intended to either kill him or the other officers on scene, or cause him or the other officers, serious bodily injury.”

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    The wrongful death suit states Lynch did not pose a threat to the officers due to his nonviolent history “and weighed all of 145 pounds.”

    “Officer George … had no reasonable ground to believe he or anyone else was in immediate danger of death or serious injury from Aaron,” the lawsuit read.

    Lynch-vs.-FCPD Download

    It also alleges the officers entered the home before coming up with a plan to manage his mental health crisis and did not take reasonable steps to de-escalate the situation.

    The Fairfax County Police Department did not respond to DC News Now’s request for comment.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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