Police: Man fatally shot by Durham officers brandished pellet gun
Posted September 10, 2015
Durham, N.C. — A Durham man threatening to commit suicide pointed a pellet gun at police officers last weekend before he was shot and killed, according to a police department report released Thursday.
La'Vante Trevon Biggs, 21, called 911 on Saturday morning and hung up, and when dispatchers called back, his mother said he was sitting on the porch pointing a "big black gun" at his head, according to the five-day report, which the Durham Police Department issues in any officer-involved shooting.
Officers responded to 1702 Angier Ave. and repeatedly tried to persuade him to put down the gun, but he would instead point it at his head or put the barrel in his mouth, the report states.
"At one point, officers asked (his mother) if the gun was real, and she told them, 'Yes, it is real,'" the report states. "She also told officers 'that there was nothing we could say or do, she stated she knew he was not going to back down,' an officer reported."
After close to an hour of negotiations, Biggs made what officers described as "fast steps" or "aggressive steps toward one of them, pointing the gun at the officer and refusing to obey commands to drop it, so four officers fired at total of 12 shots at him, according to the report.
"It was only upon collecting evidence that officers learned that Biggs’ gun was a replica Airsoft air gun, which closely resembled a real gun," the report states.
Officers Richard Armstrong, Landon Harvey, Anthony Cisternas and Jason Holmes have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of reviews of the case by the Durham Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure.
Biggs had been released from jail on bond earlier that morning following a Friday arrest on a charge of injury to personal property.
His mother told police that he had been depressed about a recent breakup and not seeing his children, according to the five-day report.