Man killed by Alexandria police is remembered as sensitive person

February 19, 2013

A former Marine who was killed by Alexandria police Monday afternoon was remembered by friends as a sensitive person who used to write poetry and go out of his way to make others laugh.

Police have identified him as Taft Sellers, 30.

Sellers, who grew up in Alexandria, was shot by police after officers were called to a relative’s home at 2 p.m. for a domestic disturbance, authorities said. When police arrived at the home in the 3400 block of Duke Street, they found a man with a gun, authorities said. Police would not say who called 911.

Officers shot Sellers, killing him. They did not say whether Sellers fired a weapon. A police investigation is ongoing, and the officers involved have been placed on leave with pay. Police would not say how many officers fired bullets or were placed on leave.

Personal belongings could be seen strewn outside the home’s front door.

Sellers’s friends were still in disbelief Tuesday.

“I never even knew Taft to get angry,” said Khea Forte, a childhood friend who said she saw Sellers at a party Saturday night. “To hear he died this way is crazy.”

At the party, she said, he was “quiet and reserved,” but not in a way that caused her concern.

Sellers graduated in 2001 from T.C. Williams High School, and shortly afterward he joined the military, according to friends. He served in South Africa and Japan before leaving for health reasons several years ago, they said. A little more than a year ago he returned home from a security job in India, friends said.

He was living with his girlfriend and taking classes toward a business degree, said Leslie Alexander, 29, who considered Sellers one of her closest friends.

In high school, Alexander and Sellers ran track together and would often share lunch and study together, she said. In more recent years, they would share their poetry.

“We had a very special relationship; we were always helping each other,” Alexander said. “He was a stand-up guy, very genuine, someone you could trust and rely on. He was a protector.”

Alexander said that in high school, Sellers was a person who would make people laugh and ease tense moods on days when students were taking tests. Other friends shared memories of Sellers on the Facebook page “RIP Taft Sellers,” which also had pictures of him.

Funeral arrangements had not yet been made Tuesday.

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