A Virginia police officer was indicted Monday on a second-degree murder charge for shooting and killing an unarmed man as he stood inside his home with his hands raised.
Fairfax County officer Adam Torres was indicted by a special grand jury in the August 2013 shooting death of 46-year-old John Geer after days of testimony from nearly 20 witnesses, the Washington Post reports.
Torres killed Geer after responding to a report of a domestic dispute in which it was alleged that the man had thrown is girlfriends belongings onto the front lawn of their Pebble Brook Court home.
Torres said Geer showed officers a holstered handgun as he stood in the doorway of his home and told them: “I have a gun; I will use it if I need to because you guys have guns” – before placing the weapon on the ground.
Torres said he shot Geer because he felt the man was a threat when “he brought both his hands down really quick near his waist.”
“It was not accidental,” Torres said. “No, it was justified. I have no doubt about that at all. I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy at all.”
Four other officers on the scene however, along with Geer’s father and a friend, said Geer’s hands remained above his shoulders when he was murdered.
Greer family attorney Michael Lieberman said the indictment is “a substantial step toward justice for John Geer. A Fairfax County jury will now be able to determine what’s fair and just, which is all the family wanted.”
In April, Fairfax County paid nearly $3 million to Geer’s two daughters to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
“We have great respect for the Special Grand Jury process, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County, and the criminal justice system as this matter proceeds,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said.
“The loss of life is tragic for all. We express our sympathy to the Geer family, support to our great community and the men and women of the Fairfax County Police Department.”
Torres, who had been an officer since 2006, was fired on July 31.