Breaking News
More () »

Tampa Bay and Sarasota's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Tampa Bay and Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com

Man charged with murder of Hillsborough corporal who was 1 shift away from retirement

Corporal Brian LaVigne is survived by his wife and two adult children, one of whom is a deputy.

TAMPA, Fla — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says it has charged the man who killed one of its own by intentionally crashing into the deputy's cruiser on Monday.

The sheriff's office said Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett, 28, is charged with first-degree murder, DUI manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, two counts of resisting arrest, felony criminal mischief and aggravated fleeing to elude. 

Corporal Brian LaVigne died Monday when Garrett, who was trying to get away from deputies, plowed into the driver's side of his cruiser on Lumsden Road, Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a news conference.  

LaVigne was 54 years old and had one more day of work before he was to retire after 30 years, the sheriff said. He is survived by his wife and two adult children, one of whom is a deputy with the sheriff's office.

Credit: Osprey Observer
From left to right: Melody Powers, the national defense chairperson for the Alafia River Chapter NSDAR; Deputy Caitlin LaVigne; Corporal Brian LaVigne; and Roberta Jordan, regent with the Alafia River Chapter NSDAR.

Around 3:45 p.m. Monday, Chronister said deputies responded to The Paddock Club apartments just off Lumsden Road on a call about someone who was throwing items off his balcony. Seeing there was no crime, they left.

According to investigators, a neighbor called for help after 5 p.m., saying the man, later identified as Garrett, now was naked and throwing cookies at neighbors. Deputies again responded to the apartments.

At this time, Chronister said, Garrett was combative and hit a deputy in the head with enough force that he fell to the ground. Another deputy then deployed his Tazer, but it was ineffective. 

Deputies called for backup as Garrett got into his car and tried to get away, the sheriff said. He rammed through the back gate of the complex and eventually ended up going westbound on Lumsden Road.

"Corporal LaVigne was in the area, he was actually in the turn lane where he could make a turn onto Lumsden Boulevard," Chronister said. "This individual, Mr. Garrett, is traveling at a high rate of speed. Mr. Garrett intentionally switches two lanes and goes off into the turn lane to strike Corporal LaVigne's vehicle."

Garrett went "as fast as he could make that car go," hitting the driver's side of LaVigne's cruiser, Chronister continued. The crash was said to be destructive enough that responding deputies could not immediately get LaVigne out.

The sheriff's office says as of Tuesday morning, Garrett was still in the hospital.