Florida leaders express outrage, sympathy for Hillsborough deputy killed on duty

Brian LaVigne
The deputy was set to retire in mere days.

A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was set to retire this week was killed  in the line of duty Monday night.

HCSO Master Cpl. Brian LaVigne was killed while assisting fellow deputies on a call when an individual fleeing the scene struck his vehicle. LaVigne, 54, was days away from retirement. 

The deputy was responding to a call at the Paddock Club Apartments, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. The caller reported that 28-year-old Travis Zachary Gabriel Garrett was nude and acting erratically.

Garrett struck an officer trying to calm him down, the report said. The responding officers attempted to taser Garrett without success.

Garrett fled in his car to Lumsden Road, where, according to several witnesses, he “intentionally rammed” into an HSCO vehicle with LaVigne inside. 

“Master Corporal Brian LaVigne has been a part of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office family since 1990, and he was just days away from retirement,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister in a news release. “We will never forget Master Corporal LaVigne for laying down his life in the line of duty or the response of his squad members who did everything they could to ensure that the individual responsible for his death was apprehended.”

The Sheriff’s Office has charged Garrett with first degree felony murder, DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and several other related charges. Garrett does not have an arrest history in Hillsborough County, but was previously Baker Acted in Pasco County.

Florida legislators have been quick to respond to the news of the deputy’s death, including U.S. Sen. Rick Scott

Heartbroken by the loss of Master Corporal Brian LaVigne, who was intentionally targeted and killed in the line of duty. Corporal LaVigne dedicated his life to protecting our families, and this kind of attack is truly disgusting. My prayers are with his loved ones,” Scott tweeted.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also responded, saying he and his wife are “saddened to learn of the passing” of LaVigne, and insisting “the perpetrator must be brought to justice.”

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls responded to the news saying, “Our hearts are with the men and women of the @HCSOSheriff office, and the family of Master Corporal Brian LaVigne who was killed in the line of duty last night. May his memory be eternal.”

Rep. Andrew Learned tweeted,  “Just heard the tragic news that we lost @HCSOSheriff Cpl. Brian LaVigne in the line of duty today in #Brandon. We are all heartbroken tonight as I knew him as one of our finest. My prayers are with Cathy, Erin, and the entire community. We’re here for you.”

Newly elected Sen. Danny Burgess also responded, saying “As more details are released, Courtney and I are praying for Master Corporal Brian LaVigne’s family, for the members of his squad, and for all the men and women of @HCSOSheriff who called him a teacher, a mentor, and a friend.”

LaVigne is survived by his wife and two adult children, one of whom is also a deputy with the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


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