APD addresses deadly force encounter

This is a message from the Alexandria Police Department regarding a deadly force encounter on April 17th, 2023.

Assistant Police Chief Lillie Evans introduced the Alexandria Police Department’s new Police Chief Chad Gremillion during a video statement on April 19 regarding a deadly force encounter that occurred on April 17. Also appearing in the video were Alexandria Mayor Jaques Roy, Police Commissioner Patrick VanDyke and Deputy Chief Darrell Bradley.

Evans shared comments on APD philosophy to act as a guardian of citizens, combat crime and to make a better and safer community and protect life. In order to do so the APD has to plan and carefully execute warrants when, unfortunately, serious crime is suspected and involves a heightened risk of danger to the public and law enforcement, even to minimize risk to suspects involving serious felonies. This is done through training and planning for risks. Leadership at APD has a dual role to the public it serves. It wants to ensure community obligations to share information and be as transparent as public safety allows. This must be balanced against the best practices of additional law enforcement partners reviewing APD work in cases when deadly force is faced. The APD values the sanctity of the lives that it constitutionally polices, and of all law enforcement officers. Leadership wants everyone to go home to their families. When circumstances make this impossible the APD wants the public to receive the information but it also wants to get what happens right, even sharing shift oversight in these moments when force leads to loss of life.

“I care about you and I care about our community,” said Evans. “We’re working hard solving violent crimes quickly and constantly training and working to lead as a police agency. I am proud of the work on April 17 but I take no pleasure when force escalates to a deadly encounter. We teach deescalation but this is not always possible due to choices that people make. I am concerned about you and I am concerned about our community. I am concerned about illegal guns being used by youthful offenders. I am most concerned by the failure of youth offenders to grasp the sanctity of life, including their own. We must do better.”

Chief Gremillion explained that the department reviewed multiple videos depicting what occurred from various points of view and to ensure the integrity of any findings he asked the LA State Police Bureau of Investigations to document and conduct an independent investigation and present video and other evidence for public use.

During a traffic stop on April 17 with a suspect with a passenger with felony warrants for attempted second degree murder, the suspect exited the vehicle and immediately fired multiple shots at APD officers. The suspect was eventually struck with return fire before fleeing into a wooded area where he succumbed to his injuries.

“There was no chase and there was no standoff at any point despite any reporting to the contrary,” Gremillion added. “Only as a last resort did our officers choose to use deadly force in this encounter.”