The Washington Post

Officials: Loudoun deputy shot daughter he thought was intruder; teen in hospital

A Loudoun County sheriff’s deputy shot his teenage daughter at their Winchester home after mistaking her for an intruder, then crashed his car as he tried to race her to the hospital, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting occurred about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, when Easton McDonald, a sergeant with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, responded to a home security alarm that alerted him to an open garage door, said Capt. Donnie Lang of the Frederick sheriff’s office.

As McDonald approached the garage, he heard noises coming from outside the door, Lang said.

“He figured someone had broken into the garage, and his family was upstairs asleep,” Lang said.

At that point, McDonald retrieved a privately owned gun — not his service weapon, Lang said — and opened the door. McDonald saw the dark shape of a person coming toward him, Lang said.

“At that particular point, he discharges his firearm and strikes the person in the torso area,” Lang said. “Then he hears her voice and recognizes that it’s his daughter.”

McDonald grabbed his daughter, a 16-year-old student at Millbrook High School who had been returning home after apparently sneaking out, and called 911, according to investigators. McDonald told the 911 operator that he was taking his daughter to the hospital, Lang said. En route, McDonald lost control of his car and hit a barricade, damaging the front of the vehicle but causing no additional injuries to his daughter or to himself, Lang said.

Emergency responders went to the scene of the crash and took McDonald’s daughter to Winchester Medical Center, where she was in stable condition Thursday, Lang said.

Calls to the McDonald home Thursday went to a recording, which said that the number had been “temporarily disconnected.”

Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun sheriff’s office, confirmed that McDonald was involved in the shooting but declined to comment further because the investigation by the Frederick sheriff’s office is continuing.

McDonald, who has been a member of the sheriff’s office for 13 years, is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation by the Loudoun sheriff’s office.

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Caitlin Gibson is a feature writer at The Washington Post.

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