ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — A Virginia woman was sitting in her car in the McDonald’s parking lot when Fairfax County police shot and killed a man attacking one of their own just feet away. Now, she is sharing her experience with DC News Now.
The attack on a cop and the ensuing shooting, have stuck with Marcella Pratt and her five-year-old grandson, who was in the backseat.
Police are still working through the body-worn camera footage, but a video posted on social media has already shown the crucial moments of the encounter.
The video shows 38-year-old Brandon Lamagne, who was accused of stealing a U-Haul, attack a Fairfax County officer in the front seat of his car. During the struggle, the car reversed through the parking lot, hitting bushes in front of the fast food restaurant, and at least one other car. All the while, the officer was on his radio saying the man was trying to take his gun.
“I ain’t never been in a war zone, but that’s what I felt like that day,” said Pratt.
Pratt, her friend and her five-year-old grandson were sitting in a car in front of the McDonald’s where the shooting occurred.
“I jumped out, ran, dropped on my knees on the right side of the car, and dropped down where my grandson was seating, and told him, ‘Lay down, just stay down,'” she said.
Her grandson is five years old.
“The police, the gunshots, the car crash,” she said. “That’s what [my grandson] talked about before he went to bed. No five-year-old should have to go through that.”
The video posted on social media also showed officers firing shots toward Lamagne. Then, a veteran officer pulled him out of the car and shot him multiple times. It’s unclear when the fatal shot was fired.
Davis called the veteran officer a “hero,” and said the initial officer was “in a fight for his life inside of a police car.”
“There’s going to be no guesswork about what happened,” Davis said. “We certainly take the loss of any life very seriously.”
Meanwhile, Pratt expressed her own concerns.
“That police officer has a right to be safe too,” she said. “He has a family, I’m sure, kids or whatever. He’s got a home to go to as well. But that doesn’t give you the right to just kill people.”
DC News Now reached out to the Fairfax County Police Department for an official comment, though it indicated any updates — specifically related to the tactics and details of the shooting, will come when the body-worn camera is released. That will likely occur later this month.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement: “I received and started reviewing the body-worn camera footage last night. At this stage, consistent with standard operating procedure, my team is undertaking an independent and thorough review. I can assure the community that I will come to an independent decision in this matter.”