The John Geer shooting remains a point of heated controversy, as he was reportedly unarmed when he was shot to death by former Fairfax officer Adam Torres. On Monday, the 33-year-old man pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. However, Torres told detectives he does not “feel sorry” for killing the unarmed man.
In 2013, Geer was shot to death as he stood in the doorway of his Springfield residence, refusing to surrender to police after a domestic dispute with his partner.
Prior to his death, John Geer lived with his girlfriend Maura Harrington for 24 years, along with their two teenage daughters. However, the couple was reportedly having relationship issues and had argued on the day of the shooting.
According to reports, the argument began when Harrington told Geer she was moving out and had signed a lease on a new apartment. Geer was reportedly upset with the news and began drinking heavily. In a subsequent rage, he tossed Harrington’s belongings out the door onto the front lawn.
— blicqer (@blicqer) April 19, 2016
Although Maura Harrington left the house when John Geer began drinking, her daughters called her home amid their father’s outburst.
Harrington returned to the house and attempted to calm her boyfriend down. However, he threw an empty suitcase and hit her on the head. According to the 911 call, Maura said Geer was throwing her belongings around in a rage. When asked if her boyfriend had any weapons, Harrington admitted Geer had a collection of guns. However, she told the operator the weapons were locked inside a case.
When Adam Torres and his partner reached the house, John Geer, who was standing in the doorway, walked back inside the house. Torres’ partner recalled, “he kind of reached around his back and he had something black in his hand and he kind of set it down to the left side.”
According to court records, a.357 Magnum, loaded with hollow points, was later found in a stairwell — a few feet from the suspect.
Although several more officers converged on the scene, John Geer still refused to surrender. His father and best friend also arrived on scene, in an attempt to convince him to comply with the officer’s orders.
John Geer was shot at exactly 3:34 p.m. by Adam Torres. The single shot, which was fired from a distance of 17 feet, struck him directly in the chest. Torres told detectives he fired because he saw Geer reach down toward his waistband. “I had pulled the trigger one time and hit him under his right rib cage.” When asked if the shooting was an accident, he told detectives, “No it was justified. I have no doubt at all. I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy.”
Prior to John Geer’s death, Torres was an officer for 7 years. Although the incident occurred on August 29, 2013, the officer spent two more years working in the force’s administrative department before his dismissal on July 31, 2015.
The case had been stalled numerous times, as several Fairfax police officers refused to cooperate with federal and state prosecutors. However, the case was propelled forward in January 2015, when four Fairfax officers came forward to contradict Torres’ claim that Geer appeared to be reaching for a weapon. All four officers later confirmed John Geer was unarmed when Adam Torres shot him dead.
Despite his prior statement to detectives, Adam Torres apologized to Jon Geer’s family during Monday’s hearing at a Fairfax Circuit Court.
“I am truly sorry for my actions. I’m heartbroken for Mr Geer’s children. There are no words I can say today that can adequately express my remorse.”
Torres’ defense team and prosecutors agreed on a 12-month sentence. However, Judge Smith declined the proposal Monday, asking for a standard sentencing report. The judge scheduled the formal sentencing hearing for June 24.
If Judge Smith ultimately refuses the 12-month sentence, Torres could rescind his guilty plea and get a new trial date with a different judge.
— justin jouvenal (@jjouvenal) April 18, 2016
John Geer’s father, Don, who witnessed the death of his son, said he has mixed feelings about the plea deal. He said he expected Adam Torres to spend more time in prison, but he did accept the former officer’s apology. However, he said, “I think it’s a little late in coming. I would’ve liked to see that a long time ago, but nothing in this has been done in a timely manner.” John Geer’s mother, Anne, was equally dissatisfied with the agreement saying, “I hope [Adam Torres] fries in h*** for eternity.”
[Image via Fairfax County Police Department]