BRANDON, FL – A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy was killed by a fleeing suspect during a chase just days before he was set to retire. The fleeing suspect intentionally rammed his vehicle into the officer, causing his death.
According to the HCSO, at approximately 3:42 p.m. on January 11, 2021, HCSO received a 911 call from management at Paddock Club Apartments, located at 921 Paddock Club Drive in Brandon. The caller reported that a black male had been throwing property out of his apartment window and front door. The caller also stated that this individual has threatened to harm staff in the past. Deputies spoke to the man through the door, but there was no cause for arrest at the time.
The office received another call for the same individual an hour later.
Later, at approximately 5:03 p.m., another disturbance is called into HCSO’s Communications Bureau. This time, a neighbor called to report that a black male was nude and acting erratically.
Again, management from the Paddock Club Apartments called to report the same complaint. When deputies arrived at the scene the second time, they attempted to establish a dialogue with Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett, 28, but were unsuccessful. Garrett then became combative and struck one of the responding deputies, Michael Durig, Jr. multiple times. It was then that the second responding deputy, Adam Pautz, deployed his taser once without success, forcing Deputy Durig to deploy his taser two times, also without success.
Garrett fled in his car, while Deputy Durig and Deputy Pautz gave chase. Deputy Pautz tries to block Garrett, however, Garrett is able to get past him and crashes through one of the apartment complex’s gated entrances. Garrett continued to flee onto Brandon Parkway, and then westbound onto Lumsden Road, where, according to several witnesses, he intentionally rammed into Master Corporal Brian LaVigne at a high rate of speed. Master Corporal LaVigne was operating his marked HCSO vehicle.
“LaVigne’s fellow deputies worked heroically to try and tend to his injuries, while Hillsborough County Fire Rescue attempted to extricate Master Corporal LaVigne for several minutes. Despite their courageous efforts and those on frontlines at Tampa General Hospital, Master Corporal LaVigne passed away while in the line of duty,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.
LaVigne was set to retire this week. He was 54 years old. He is survived by his wife, and two adult children, one of whom is also a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
HCSO is investigating the fatal incident and charges against Garrett are forthcoming. He does not have any arrest history in Hillsborough County, but he was previously Baker Acted in Pasco County.
“Master Corporal Brian LeVigne has been part of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office family since 1990 and he was just days away from retirement,” Sheriff Chronister said. “We will never forget MC LaVigne for laying down his life in the line of duty or for the response of his squad members who did everything they could to ensure that the individual responsible for his death was apprehended.”