John Geer, a 46-year-old dad of two, was shot dead by Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer Adam Torres on August 29, 2013, as Geer stood unarmed in the doorway of his own home — at one point even telling Torres and the other police who had responded to a domestic call there, “I don’t want to die today.”
Torres, who claimed that he saw Geer reach for his belt which he believed could have concealed a weapon, said that he had no regrets about killing Geer, and was recorded at the scene telling another officer, “I meant to pull that trigger… It’s not accidental… I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy at all.”
Now, nearly two full years after Torres shot and killed Geer — with members of Geer’s family watching — the officer, who was fired from his job only three weeks ago, has been formally charged with second-degree murder.
Torres was indicted by a special grand jury that convened in June to investigate the shooting of John Geer, after the man’s family, and local media reports, alleged a police cover-up of what really happened that afternoon. The 32-year-old former cop turned himself in to police on Monday this week.
“I’m quite happy,” said Geer’s father, Don Geer, who witnessed the police shooting of his son. “I figured that eventually justice would prevail, although it took longer than I would’ve liked.”
Police had been called to Geer’s house that day by Maura Harrington, Geer’s longtime domestic partner and mother of his two children. Reportedly, their relationship was on the rocks and Harrington called police to report that Geer was throwing her belongings onto the street.
But Geer was not then, and never had been, accused of a violent offense and had no previous criminal record.
Geer was standing in his doorway calmly negotiating with the police officers when he was shot. He had acknowledged owning a gun, but told officers that he did not have a weapon on his person at the time.
The shooting by Torres shocked another officer on the scene, Rodney Barnes, who in his own account of the incident contradicted the claim by Torres that Geer had “dropped his hands to his waist,” prompting Torres to shoot him.
The below photo, taken by Harrington during the standoff, shows Torres with his gun leveled and Barnes to Torres’ right.
“When the shot happened, his hands were up,” Barnes told investigators in a recorded interview. “I’m not here to throw [Torres] under the bus or anything like that, but I didn’t see what he saw.”
Adam Torres is scheduled for arraignment in the killing of John Geer on Wednesday morning.
[Images: Maura Harrington, Fairfax County Sheriff]