The Washington Post

Alexandria police officers are cleared in fatal shooting of former Marine

An internal investigation into a February officer-involved shooting that killed a former Marine revealed the use of lethal force was reasonable, Alexandria Police Chief Earl L. Cook said this week.

Cook said the investigation concluded that the Feb. 18 shooting of Taft Sellers, 30, was in compliance with department policy.

“Officers engaged with Mr. Sellers for 11 minutes, negotiated with him and only used lethal force when he pointed his gun at them,” he said.

In the early afternoon of Feb. 18, officers were called to at the 3400 block of Duke Street for a domestic disturbance at the home of a relative of Sellers. Cook said Sellers – who had a permit to carry a handgun in public – was armed with a gun and confronted officers.

Cook said officers asked Sellers to put down his gun but according to police and other witnesses, the 30-year-old did not. He said Sellers pointed his weapon at the officers.

Seven of the ten officers fired at Sellers, Cook said. He said the former Marine was struck by five shots – from a rifle and a shotgun – and died from his injuries.

Cook said the officers involved have all returned to work following the end of the investigation, which has been turned over to the civil rights division of the FBI for review.

In July, Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel cleared the officers involved in Seller’s shooting of criminal wrongdoing.

Victoria St. Martin covers breaking news and Prince William County for The Post's Local desk.

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