This is from a prepared statement by former Fredericksburg Police Officer Shaun Jurgens about the May 4 incident that led to a department investigation and his eventual resignation:
On 05/04/2015, shortly after 1700 hours, multiple calls were received in the communications center concerning a vehicle being operated in a reckless manner driving on the wrong side of Route 1, a major thoroughfare, and involved in multiple hit and run accidents. The call was dispatched that citizens were following the suspect vehicle and that the vehicle was traveling on Cowan Blvd. toward the police department.
I was inside of the police department at the time the call was dispatched. I heard Corporal Deschenes relay via the police radio that he was on Cowan Blvd. attempting to locate the suspect vehicle. At this time, I ran into the back parking lot of the police station and I entered my patrol vehicle so that I could respond to the area of the call to assist.
While in route, I heard Corporal Deschenes state on the radio that he had located the suspect vehicle on Cowan Blvd. and that the suspect vehicle had been boxed in by another citizen’s vehicle so that the suspect vehicle could not move. I then heard Sergeant Hill arrive to the scene via the police radio.
It was dispatched via the radio that citizens reported that the suspect was moving around a lot inside of his vehicle. I believed that the suspect may be looking for a weapon or looking to conceal a weapon based on this information and the fact that he was believed to be fleeing a felony (hit and run of an occupied vehicle).
About a minute later, I arrived to the area on Cowan Blvd where Corporal Deschenes and Sergeant Hill were. I observed the suspect vehicle with the suspect seated in the driver’s seat inside of the vehicle. I exited my patrol vehicle and I could see Corporal Deschenes making verbal commands to the suspect while he pointed his service weapon at the suspect. Corporal Deschenes was ordering the suspect to show his hands.
I started to approach towards the suspect vehicle with my service weapon pointed at the suspect. Corporal Deschenes was standing outside the driver’s side of the suspect vehicle while he made commands. I walked towards the front of the suspect vehicle.
Sergeant Hill was standing closer to the vehicle that belonged to the citizen who had intervened to stop the suspect. Sergeant Hill then moved to take cover in the area of her patrol vehicle. Sergeant Hill's patrol vehicle was to the front of the suspect vehicle.
Sergeant Hill then started to make verbal commands at the suspect and pointed her service weapon at the suspect. Sergeant Hill was also telling the suspect to show his hands.
As I approached toward the suspect vehicle, Sergeant Hill yelled at me to seek cover because she could not see the suspect’s hands. The suspect was refusing to show his hands.
I then moved my position to the passenger side of a parked patrol vehicle so that I could have some cover. I continued to point my service weapon at the suspect from this position. A call was made via the police radio by Corporal Deschenes asking for any available police officers to respond with lights and sirens to the incident due to the circumstances.
The suspect continued to refuse to respond to verbal commands made by Sergeant Hill and Corporal Deschenes to show his hands. I could see that the driver appeared to be exhibiting behavior that made me believe that he may be under the influence of some intoxicant or narcotic.
The driver appeared to be unfazed by all the police officers and not worried about what was going on all around him. The suspect’s left hand was concealed from view because it was below the door frame and steering wheel. It appeared that the driver was using his right hand to reach around for something inside of the vehicle.
I believed that immediate action needed to be taken due to several factors in the current circumstances.
First, Corporal Deschenes did not have any cover and was close to the suspect vehicle while he was pointing his gun at it.
Second, the suspect was reaching around inside of and moving inside of the vehicle. This made me believe that a weapon may be present.
Third, at the time the suspect was believed to be involved in a felony hit and run.
Fourth, the incident was at rush hour on a busy four lane road with hundreds of vehicles passing by. I was worried that if a gun was fired by one of the officers on scene, that there could be risk to passing motorists. The incident was also occurring in the school zone for Hugh Mercer Elementary School. I was worried that elementary-age students may be close by on the school property. It would be preferable to eliminate a potential lethal force situation by using non-lethal force before the situation potentially escalated.
Fifth, I believed that the suspect was under the influence of mind-altering substances and was thus more prone to irrational behavior.
Sixth, the driving behavior displayed by the suspect showed a recklessness and severe disregard for human life. The front driver’s side tire was deflated and there was damage to the suspect vehicle. This was another factor that led me to believe that the suspect may be prone to violence.
After the suspect refused to respond to repeated verbal commands by Sergeant Hill and Corporal Deschenes, I decided to approach the suspect vehicle and attempt to make physical contact with the driver. While Sergeant Hill and Corporal Deschenes maintained lethal cover with their firearms pointed at the suspect, I reholstered my firearm.
I then removed my taser from its holster. I turned the taser on and I approached the front driver’s side door of the suspect vehicle. I placed the red laser dots from the taser on the upper chest and shoulder area of the suspect through the open driver’s side window.
Due to the extreme brightness from the sunlight, I lost sight of the red dots as I fired the taser probes at the suspect. The suspect was also moving around inside of the vehicle.
One of the probes entered the suspect. The other taser probe hit the side of the vehicle. The one taser probe was ineffective on the suspect. The suspect showed no physical reaction to being tased.
I then reholstered my taser and retreated slightly. I then removed my OC spray from its holster and I reapproached and I sprayed the suspect’s face, neck, and upper chest with a long burst of OC.
This finally caused the suspect to react and he started to show signs of wanting to cooperate by raising his hands up as if he was surrendering.
Myself and Corporal Deschenes were able to remove the suspect from the front driver’s side seat by pulling on his body with our hands. We then placed the suspect face first on the pavement and worked together to handcuff the suspect with both of his hands behind his back.
We were forced to use two pairs of handcuffs because of the large size of the suspect. I believe that the suspect was more than 300 lbs.
After the suspect had been handcuffed, we immediately requested the rescue squad to respond to the location of the incident to attend to the suspect. I wanted the suspect to receive medical care for the taser prong that made contact and for his exposure to OC.
I let the suspect lean up against my body while we sat him upright on the pavement and awaited the arrival of the rescue squad. I repeatedly told the suspect that he would be OK and that the rescue squad would remove the pepper spray from his skin so he would feel better.
When the rescue squad arrived, the rescue squad provided medical attention to the suspect focused on applying saline and other solutions to the suspect’s skin to help relieve the burning sensations he was feeling from the OC exposure.
I then rode with the suspect in the back of the ambulance to the emergency room at Mary Washington Hospital. I stood by with the suspect in the emergency room as the doctor removed the taser prong on his face and performed other medical procedures.
The entire incident was recorded with my body camera. The sergeant and corporal on scene also had their body cameras activated. The footage from the body cameras shows the suspect concealing his hands and refusing to comply with repeated commands to show his hands.
Below is video of the incident from the body cameras of three police officers. The videos were released by the Fredericksburg Police Department. Beware the video contains some explicit language.