November 15, 2018 -- For Immediate Release
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA… The criminal investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred on November 4, 2018 on Laurel Street in the Woodbridge area of Prince William County has been completed. This investigation was conducted by detectives from the Prince William County Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division and was reviewed by the Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Office for a determination of criminal liability concerning the officers' actions, as well as the suspect's actions, during the incident. In the interest of keeping the residents of Prince William County informed of significant incidents involving our officers and the community, further details of the investigation and the ruling of criminal liability are being publicly disclosed.
On November 4, 2018 at approximately 5:41PM, the Prince William County Public Safety Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from an individual reporting that his grandson, later identified as Brett Anthony Monteith, was bleeding and holding a firearm at their residence located at 1106 Laurel Street. An update reported that Brett was last seen running out of the back door to the residence where the caller lost sight of him. The call was dispatched to responding officers at 5:42PM as a shooting-in-progress with injuries. The first responding officers arrived at the home at approximately 5:44PM and faced immediate gunfire from the roof area of the residence from a man armed with a .22 caliber rifle. At 5:45PM, patrol supervisors monitoring the call, and hearing that the officers were being fired upon, declared a "Signal 1" -- officer in trouble, calling for all available units to respond to the scene. Four officers were on scene at the time shots were fired towards police. Two officers at the scene returned fire on the suspect, ultimately striking him in the upper body, before subduing him in front of the residence at approximately 5:49PM. During the shooting, one of the officers on scene was struck by a round fired from the suspect, striking the officer in the back, across the exterior ballistic vest. The officer was seen at an area hospital as a precaution. No other injuries were sustained other than to the suspect. Officers rendered aide to the suspect prior to medical crews arriving on scene. The suspect was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries and has since been released. He is currently incarcerated at the Adult Detention Center.
On November 8, Brett Anthony Monteith was charged with one count of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer and one count of using a firearm in commission of a felony. A preliminary court date is scheduled for December 12, 2018. Any additional charges are expected through indictments by the Grand Jury at a later date.
The investigation into the incident revealed that Mr. Monteith had shot himself with a firearm prior to the initial call to 9-1-1 by the suspect's grandfather. At some point between the time of the call and officers arriving on scene, the suspect got onto the roof of the home where he then opened fire on responding officers. Other homes were struck during the encounter resulting in property damage only.
Upon reviewing the actions of the officer involved in the shooting and the details of the investigation as described above, Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney, Paul Ebert, ruled that both officers were justified in their use of deadly force against the accused during this encounter. No criminal charges will be sought against any officer in this incident. Mr. Ebert stated, "The evidence indicates that the responding officers used great restraint and used deadly force only when necessary, in my opinion."
Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard commented, "As the administrative investigation into this incident continues, I am confident that our officers performed with the upmost courage as they faced a dangerous, unprovoked attack by an armed assailant. Their actions that evening were heroic and we are fortunate that none of the officers in the incident or any innocent residents in the area were harmed."
The Prince William County Police Department's Office of Professional Standards is continuing an independent administrative investigation into the shooting. A final review of the incident will be conducted by the Police Department's Use of Deadly Force Review Board, which will examine all aspects of the incident. The Board will determine if the shooting was within policy and will make any recommendations as needed based on their findings.
The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Evan Jurgensen, age 25, with 2.4 years-of-service with the Prince William County Police Department and John Yenchak, age 22, with 1.5 years-of-service with the agency. Both officers are assigned to the Eastern Patrol District within the Operation Division and have not been involved in any previous officer-involved shootings. Both officers have returned to full duty.
The Police Department recognizes the sensitivity of officer-involved shootings and the public's interest in remaining informed as to the circumstances surrounding incidents when the police use deadly force actions. We remain committed to conducting a thorough investigation when these incidents occur and appreciate our community's patience while we gather and process information.
The Police Department is evaluating this incident and will continue to release any additional, pertinent information related to this investigation as needed to keep our community informed.
Pictured: Left, suspect arrested in the case Brett Anthony Monteith | Right, photo of the officer's vest struck during the incident