Cop shoot, kills teen after he skips out on check at IHOP

This happened last weekend in Northern Virginia. An 18-year-old was killed by a police officer moonlighting as a security guard at an IHOP after he and three of his friends skipped out on their check. The cop followed the teens out of the restaurant and stood in front of the teens’ SUV and fired 5 times, hitting and killing Aaron Brown, who was a backseat passenger.

The cop said he thought the driver was going to hit him and feared for his life. That is why he fired at the vehicle.

Bullshit. If he feared for his life, he could have stepped out of the path of the vehicle. Skipping out on a check at IHOP does not call for deadly force. This is such a tragedy and outrage! I hope the cop gets charged with murder.

From the Washington Post:

Va. Teen Killed When Off-Duty Officer Fires at Approaching SUV

Friends Hurt, Family Haunted After Va. Teen Is Slain by Officer

Fatal Shooting In Alexandria Fuels Debate On Police Policy

This is completely inappropriate, but for some reason I just have this image of a macho-man’s-man standing Weaver as the minivan approaches, muttering in his best Clint Eastwood, “Nobody gets away with free pancakes on my watch.”

Returning to reality though, that’s revolting. Nobody could convince me he didn’t have time to jump off to one side. It’s a parking lot – unless he’s trapped between two large trucks on either side of him, then he had plenty of clearance and in all likelyhood plenty of time to evade the oncoming vehicle. If he had time to draw his gun, take aim and fire, he had time to get out of the way.

And how was it “not known at the time how many shots were fired?” Did the officer not say? Did they not check the gun’s chamber? I mean I assume one of the first things the officer had to do was to surrender his gun pending investigation. Just sounds like they want to keep it out of the media to avoid making the officer look worse.

I’d need more information before I passed judgement. Are you certain that the officer could have easily gotten out of the way of an SUV apparently controlled by a drunk driver?

I’ve been following this story in the Post. I’m withholding judgement till all the facts are in, but I’m also wondering why the cop didn’t move out of the way. Still I’m not all that sympathetic to the kids either, especially if they did charge the cop in their SUV. Running out on a check may not call for deadly force, assault with a deadly weapon (the SUV) does. And the cop may not have had room to dodge the car. I really don’t know.

Still, it’s a tragedy.

Exactly, in the time it takes to squeeze off 5 shots, he could moved out of the way.

One of the teens said the cops fired 5 shots, although I don’t think that has been released by the police.

I have no reason to believe the teens purposely “charged” the cop. They were likely just leaving, driving away, and the cop jumped in front of them. By all accounts, these were not bad kids. Sounds like this cop was on a big power trip and couldn’t handle the thought of kids getting away with free pancakes on his watch (as Mindshare said!)

I agree. If he stepped into the path of the vehicle, the driver may not have had time to avoid hitting him. Benefit of the doubt to the victims in the car.

Put me in the “wait for more info” category.

I’m usually the first one to claim that a cop used excessive force, but in this case I’m not so sure. If a cop steps in front of your vehicle, points a gun at you, and tells you to stop, it’s generally a bad idea to try to run him over. Someone’s going to get hurt. And sometimes it will be your buddy in the back seat.

I don’t know… based on the articles in the OP, it sounds like the cop stepped out in front of the moving vehicle in an attempt to cause it to stop. Which is a little different than the kids charging the cop. Of course, it’s not clear at what point the cop chose to fire (all pending investigation of course), but in general it would seem that the thing to do would have been to step back out of the way. Certainly he had time, as he didn’t end up getting hit by the car after he shot a passenger.

Yeah, that’s fucked up. Did it never occur to this moron that he could take down the license plate and description and call it in to the police, who could look for the SUV on the street and/or send a patrol car to the house of the owner?

Also, this guy either has the most inflated sense of duty ever, or he was just itching to shoot somone. Because there’s no fucking sense in jumping in front of a moving SUV for the sake of the price of a few pancakes. He sholdn’t have jumped in front of the car in the first place, and his first action should have been to jump out of its way. As one of the family members said in one of the OP’s linked articles:

Also, it seems that at least two bullets hit the side and rear-side panels of the car; not exactly a location you’d expect if the officer was in danger of being run over.

But the question is whether he should have jumped in front of it in the first place, especially conjsidering the alleged crime was skipping out on a restaurant check.

Also, if you read the articles, you’ll see that the only reason the driver was charged with being drunk was that he was a teenager and Virginia law allows such a charge for anyone under 21 with any alcohol at all in their system.

Depends how much time the driver had to react. If the cop jumped in front when the car wasn’t very far away, the driver may not even have had time to react and stop or swerve out of the way.

I agree that we need to wait for more info, but i really do question whether it was necessary for the cop to do anything more than call in the license plate. If it’s a choice between that and fring your gun, especially over a skipped restaurant check, i think the logical choice is clear.

How did he kill a kid in the back seat of a vehicle that was driving at him? I’m not saying that’s impossible, but a little fishy.

It’s not totally clear yet that the teens actually skipped out on the check deliberately.

While many parts of this story are not yet established matters of fact, it certainly sounds like a bit of an overreaction to not paying for pancakes. Whatever happened to making non-payers wash dishes?


I too have a question - why on earth would you try and shoot the driver of a car that’s already headed right for you? Surely if they’re incapacitated, there’s no-one to stop the car crashing into you?

Time is the missing variable in several parts of the incident. It sure would be nice to see a videotape of this.

If the kid is sitting in the middle of the seat, or if the shot comes in at an angle, or if a bullet ricochets inside the vehicle. It’s easy enough to see that a backseat fatality was possible.

I was wondering the exact same thing. Shooting the driver is not going to make the car stop.

Exactly! A promising young man had to die to satisfy this cop’s macho ego.

THIS is intriguing. This in and of itself really sets my alarm bells off. Something is way off in this case.

The one article stated the driver swerved away after the cop started shooting, so it may not be an issue of trying to actually hit the driver. More like make them turn so they do not hit you. WAG of course.

If a person has practiced with his sidearm, as most cops do, five rounds should take just a touch over one second. I myself can do so in just under two (so I’m slow, my chief says it all the time.)

The key here, at least as far as I can see, was did he have his weapon drawn when he stepped in the road. It was, according to the first article, a small parking lot. Not much room for either party to manuver. If he stepped out without the weapon being drawn, that’s self defense. If he had already drawn, then he forsaw the possibility that he would fire, and the “feared for his life” defense becomes bunk.

I’m going to wait to see how the investigation comes out. I hope he was justified. If he wasn’t, I hope he gets 10 years in the can.

The hell of it is that today, IHOP was GIVING away pancakes.

Timing is sverything.

Without knowing the bullet’s trajectory it’s hard to say if this makes any sense based on his story. The driver could have (and most likely would have) been trying to swerve out of the officer’s line of sight, exposing the side of the vehicle. This would leave a long, shallow bullet tract. If the hole was deep and more straight-on, then we’d have more conclusive evidence that he was shooting long before the vehicle was aimed at him.