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Prosecutors to seek Premeditated Murder charge against man accused of killing deputy

Accused of intentionally ramming into deputy's car
Master Corporal Brian LaVigne.png
Posted at 3:33 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 07:46:34-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Prosecutors plan to seek the most serious charges possible against the man accused of killing a Hillsborough County deputy.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren plans to ask a Grand Jury to indict Travis Garrett for first-degree premeditated murder of a law enforcement officer and eight other charges.

“This was a deliberate attack on law enforcement; he targeted a cop. When you commit a crime like this — when you cause pain like this — you should expect consequences like this,” Warren said. “Despite losing a friend, the detectives handling this case are completely focused. They’re doing an incredible job working with our prosecutors to build the strongest possible case.”

RELATED | Sheriff: Hillsborough deputy killed after suspect intentionally rams into the deputy's vehicle

Garrett is accused of driving at a high rate of speed January 11 and intentionally ramming into the driver's side of Master Corporal Brian LaVigne's cruiser. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said there were no skid marks on the scene indicating trying to stop.

LaVigne was scheduled to retire on January 12 after more than 30 years of service with the Sheriff's Office. Chronister posthumously promoted LaVigne to the rank of Sergeant to honor his decades-long service to his community.

RELATED | Hillsborough County deputy killed in crash remembered as 'kind, loving and honest'

The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office decided to pursue the following charges against Garrett:

  • First-Degree Premeditated Murder – Capital felony
  • Fleeing to Elude (at High Speed Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death) – 1st degree felony
  • Vehicular Homicide – 2nd degree felony
  • DUI Manslaughter – 2nd degree felony
  • Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer – 3rd degree felony (2 counts)
  • Resisting Officer with Violence – 3rd degree felony (2 counts)
  • Criminal Mischief (with $1,000 or More in Damage) – 3rd degree felony

Prosecutors plan to discuss the charges with Judge Catherine Catlin and attorneys on Friday afternoon. Garrett remains in the hospital due to injuries sustained in the crash and is not expected to appear at Friday’s hearing.

Grand Jury proceedings are currently suspended in Hillsborough County until February 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Attorney’s Office filed a pre-trial detention motion asking Garrett be held in custody without bond until his trial. The detention hearing is scheduled for Monday, January 25 at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom before Judge Catlin.