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Victim's family issues statement in police shooting

Fairfax County police still haven't issued any details about why David A. Masters, 52, was shot to death on Route 1 last Friday.

The officer who fired the fatal shots, a six-year veteran, was interviewed by police for the first time on Tuesday with his attorney, Edward J. Nuttall, accompanying him, sources familiar with the case said. The officer's name has not been released.

Masters was being pursued because he apparently had ripped some flowers out of a planter outside a landscaping business in the Mount Vernon area, and police say he refused to pull over near the intersection with Fort Hunt Road.

At right, the Chevy Blazer of David A. Masters, shot dead by Fairfax County police in the Huntington area on Friday afternoon. The left rear passenger window has a large hole in it. (Jahi Chikwendiu/Post.)

His immediate family -- his parents, brother and two sisters -- released their first statement last night through attorney Jon E. Shields.

The parents and family of David Alan Masters were saddened to learn of David’s tragic death on Friday, November 13, 2009 in Fairfax County, Virginia. David was a veteran of the United States Army, and had been self employed as a cabinet maker until 2007, when he suffered an injury which prevented him from working. David suffered a heart attack and subsequent bypass surgery earlier this year. In addition to his recent physical challenges, David was plagued most of his adult life with episodes of mania and depression arising out of his diagnosed bi-polar disorder.
David is survived by his father, a retired United States Army Colonel, of Longview, Florida, his mother and sister of Manassas, Virginia, a brother in Providence, Rhode Island, a sister in Atlanta, Georgia, a former wife and step-daughter of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and numerous nephews and nieces in Northern Virginia.
The family is not currently in a position to comment on the actions of the police officers involved in David’s death. We cannot form any judgment based upon ignorance of the facts. However, at this point, our family has not been provided with any information from which we can conclude that David engaged in any conduct which would justify the use of deadly force against him. The family will patiently await the results of the homicide and Internal Affairs investigations being conducted by the Fairfax County Police, and the Medical Examiner’s Office before forming any conclusions concerning the circumstances of David’s senseless death.

David A. Masters, in a photo taken at the Richmond NASCAR race in September 2009. (Family photo.)

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  November 18, 2009; 7:14 AM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Police Shootings , Tom Jackman  | Tags: fairfax county police; david a. masters; police shooting; gail masters; jon e. shields  
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The FCPD is currently working with the team that constructed the "involuntary muscle reflex" defense that FCPD used in the shooting of Anthony Culosi a couple of years ago.. where the FCPD SWAT team member shot Culosi in the chest as Culosi was standing in the doorway of his condo calmly talking to other FCPD personnel...

I have little doubt that the FCPD officer will get off of this [my opinion] wrongful death...

ask yourself > how many people have blasted FCPD cops recently??? [yeah > they had the crazy with the AK a couple of years ago] > but generally > hardly any FCPD cops been shot by bad guys... then ask >> how many people have the cops killed recently with no justification?? .. seems to me Cops been killing way to many innocent civilians...

personally > I'm fearful of the FCPD cops... they are way -way too quick on the trigger... reach in your coat [where alot of people carry their wallet] and get shot?? ..

Posted by: kglkgl06 | November 18, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

kglkg106; Culosi wasn't, "standing in the doorway of his condo calmly talking to other FCPD personnel..." when he was shot, So you are WRONG about that and should get your facts straight. And how many have the FCPD, ".....killed recently with no justification?? .. seems to me Cops been killing way to many innocent civilians..." since you seem to have all the (inaccurate) info; enlighten us, please!

Posted by: sshill41 | November 18, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

actually, kglkg106 seems to summarize the Culosi death pretty accurately reading this:

sshil41: care to demonstrate otherwise?

Posted by: vr8e | November 18, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Sorry.. was having lunch in downtown DC.. too bad someone failed to show up!!!! and you know who you are!!! lol............

Sure I'll demonstrate otherwise if you promise to read what I wrote! No where in Mr. Jackman's article does it say that Culosi was, "standing in the doorway of his condo calmly talking to other FCPD personnel..." Doesn't say that and that's NOT what happened. So now YOU are inaccurate as well as kglkg106, when you say, "actually, kglkg106 seems to summarize the Culosi death pretty accurately." There... POINT DEMONSTRATED OTHERWISE!

Posted by: sshill41 | November 18, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

sshil41: > this article wrt David Masters does not mention at all anything about Culosi:

Read the actual report on the FCPD web site > I did

an extract:
Colonel Rohrer says of the report, “Our goal is to be as open and transparent as possible, explain the investigative grievance and review processes, detail the extensive investigative steps taken in this case, report our findings, and highlight our actions taken and recommendations for continued actions.”

On the evening of January 24, 2006, members of the Organized Crime and Narcotics Division and the Tactical Section (SWAT Team) were in the process of serving warrants for Mr. Culosi’s arrest on felony gambling charges and to search his residence. During this operation, one tactical officer’s gun discharged. The bullet struck Mr. Culosi in the chest. He died a short time later at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

In the weeks and months that followed, the Department conducted two investigations: a criminal investigation into possible violations of the law and an administrative or internal investigation into the officer’s actions and related Departmental policies, practices, and training.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan, Jr., reviewed the results of the criminal investigation, found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and declined to prosecute the officer.

One finding from the administrative investigation detailed in the “Report to the Community” is that a “reflex-like involuntary muscle contraction...was the direct cause of the discharge and that it was unintentional. Further, the discharge occurred while the officer was performing a lawful duty as he had been trained and prescribed to do. Although the shooting was clearly unintentional, the officer was held accountable and responsible for the unintentional discharge and a violation of Department regulations was sustained against him.

Posted by: kglkgl06 | November 18, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

this is the relevant piece from the Post in 2007 on Culosi's death.

On Jan. 24, 2006, police moved to arrest Culosi. A decision was made to use the tactical, or SWAT, team to detain Culosi while his apartment was searched. Bullock, 41, was one of two officers assigned to arrest Culosi while he met with the detective outside his apartment. Other officers were to handle the search.

According to a report issued by Rohrer in January, Bullock bounded out of his sport-utility vehicle, which was parked behind the detective's, and pulled his .45-caliber pistol out of its holster. But his door "bounced back and jarred him," Rohrer wrote, "causing him to lose his balance."

Bullock fired one round into Culosi's chest, killing him almost immediately. Culosi was not armed.

Rohrer's public report said that using a SWAT team in such a low-risk case -- Culosi never owned a weapon and had no history of violence -- was unnecessary, and that police had developed a "comprehensive risk assessment form" to determine when a SWAT team should be used. He also established a Use of Force Review Committee to examine such incidents.

While it might not explicitly line up verbatim with the other commenter, there is no mention months later of resisting arrest or that the Culosi had done anything to provoke the action. That's the real point. Arguing about anything outside of that is distracting.

Posted by: vr8e | November 18, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I'll say it one more time; I was commenting on kglkg106 saying,Culosi was, "standing in the doorway of his condo calmly talking to other FCPD personnel..." That's not what happen. He wasn't at the doorway of his condo, calmly talking to anyone. You can search on the internet til you're blue in the face and you won't find that anywhere! And the bottom line is neither one of you were there and know what happened, all you know is what you've read.

Posted by: sshill411 | November 18, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting that the Post has chosen to have a special link to "police shootings"? Doesn't that show their agenda?

What if they had a link to "black on black shootings"?

Posted by: MKadyman | November 22, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

dont depend on the post for your accurate renditions of anything. i know both parties involved in this shooting, and i know for a fact that the posts rendition is not what happened. it was an accident and there was no big conspiracy or coverup. mr. culosi is and was a criminal, unfortunately he was shot by accident while being taken into custody. Nothing we can do to change that and the fact has been acknowledged by police. word to the wise, be aware that if you participate in criminal activity you may play a role in your own demise accidentally or otherwise

Posted by: djlojak | November 25, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

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