Local News

Armed man fatally shot by Durham police

Posted September 5, 2015
Updated September 7, 2015

— An armed man threatening to commit suicide was shot and killed by Durham police officers Saturday morning after he pointed a gun at authorities, Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Officers responded to the 1700 block of Angier Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. after receiving a call about a suicidal person.

After arriving on scene, officers and members of the department's hostage negotiation unit tried for about 30 minutes to get the man to drop his weapon.

Edwin Sandoval said he and his housemates heard what sounded like police commands outside their home. Sandoval said they decided to peek outside their window to get a better look at the situation.

"When we came out here we saw two cops across from us at the neighbor's house," Sandoval said. "Both of them had rifles. Other cops posted up by their cars with their pistols out."

Officers shot the man when he walked toward them and pointed his weapon, Lopez said. Lavante Trevon Biggs, 21, was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

"Police were telling him to throw it on the ground and cooperate," Sandoval said. "He did it about three times and he picked it back up. I actually saw him moving closer to them."

Biggs had just been released from jail on Saturday morning on a $3500 bond.He had been arrested and charged with injury to personal property on Friday.

He had faced various other criminal charges in the past including assault, possession of a gun on educational property, resisting a public officer, and a probation violation for possession of a weapon. He was placed on the sex offender registry for a first degree sexual offense and indecent liberties with a child in 2011.

The four officers involved in Saturday's shooting have been placed on administrative leave with pay, standard practice in an officer-involved shooting. The officers were identified Sunday as Richard Armstrong, Anthony Cisternas, Landon Harvey, and Jason Holmes.

"I think a situation like this is extremely dangerous for everyone involved," said chief Jose Lopez of the Durham Police Department. "Everyone who is there. I think the time someone is holding a gun is a very dangerous situation, a very dangerous time for all involved."

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident.


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  • Dolly Butler Nov 22, 2016
    user avatar

    Yes, the question is: how did this person get/have a gun? We need to recognize the role of guns in our lives and decide what role we want guns to play

  • Anne Havisham Sep 6, 2015
    user avatar

    There's a meme going around social media in which it is explained that one can be opposed to law enforcement officers murdering civilians AND be opposed to civilians murdering law enforcement officers.

    Similarly, it is possible to feel sad for someone as unhinged as Trevon Biggs appears to have been AND for the LEOs who attempted to talk him out of his plan a number of times but who ultimately had to shoot to protect themselves and others.

  • Erika Phipps Sep 6, 2015
    user avatar

    The emotionally distraught young man ended his own suffering, but it was a cruel burden he put on the cops who shot him. Ideally he'd have kept his gun on the ground and accepted help. Second best, he'd have committed suicide privately, and left other people out of it.

  • Sam Jaber Sep 5, 2015
    user avatar

    He still managed to commit suicide....it's called "suicide by cop"-where the suicidal subject forces law enforcement to take actions leading to their death....sounds like this individual had decided one way or the other that they wanted to die and nothing the negotiators could do would change their mind....

  • Howard Sr. Sep 5, 2015
    user avatar

    Poor soul got what he set out to get.

  • Knakenja Wells Sep 5, 2015
    user avatar


  • Wayne Boyd Sep 5, 2015
    user avatar

    They should get the guy who supplied the gun to a mental patient and give him life in prison. In reality that's the person who killed him.

  • Cjsk St Sep 5, 2015
    user avatar

    Good job Officers. Sounds like he wasn't worth keeping around. I know his family is SOOOO proud of him. Not.