From Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Police:
Reston Police District – On January 16, 2017 around 2:40 p.m., officers assigned to the Reston District Station responded to the 13300 block of Covered Wagon Lane in Herndon, Virginia, for a report of two men who had been shot. The shooting victims had left the scene for the hospital prior to the arrival of police . Officers immediately responded to both the hospital and the home where they determined the suspect, Mohammad Azim Doudzai, was inside armed with a gun.
As officers established a perimeter around the home, they observed smoke and flames from an obvious fire from within the home and heard what appeared to be additional gun shots. Officers isolated the area and they began evacuating the neighborhood. Assets from the Special Operations Division to include members of the Crisis Negotiations and Special Weapons and Tactics teams responded to the scene to make attempts to negotiate with the suspect and have him voluntarily surrender.
After the Special Operations Division arrived on the scene, officers learned there was another man trapped inside the home and that he could not escape while the home filled with smoke from the fires. Officers observed Mohammad Azim Doudzai moving within the home while holding at least one knife. Due to the escalating violent and threatening behavior by Mohammad Azim Doudzai and the urgent safety concerns for the person trapped in the home who was reporting to Dispatchers that he was having trouble breathing, Master Police Officer Lance Guckenberger, a 16-year veteran currently assigned to the Special Operations Division deployed his department issued firearm to stop the active threat created by Mohammad Azim Doudzai and allowed the rescue of the trapped man in the home. After the actions by this officer, other officers at the scene immediately performed first aid on Mr. Doudzai, while other officers were able to rescue the trapped victim from the burning home. Personnel from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department then provided first aid to the rescued victim, took over first aid efforts for Mr. Doudzai, and fought the fire until it was brought under control and extinguished. Mr. Doudzai was transported to an area hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.
As a matter of transparency this officer was involved in two prior deployments of deadly force which were previously publicized. Both of those matters were determined to be lawfully justified uses of force in which the officer used great restraint while being exposed to suspects who were using weapons against the involved officer while the officer was attempting to preserve the sanctity of human life for others. The previous events can be viewed at these links:
For additional use of force information click here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/inside-fcpd/063015ois.htm
The Federal Court Order issued on February 8, 2017, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by United States District Judge T.S. Ellis, III has been complied with by all involved parties. Both the criminal and administrative investigations continue. When completed, the criminal investigation will be presented to the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney.