FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A former police officer charged with murder for shooting and killing a man during a domestic disturbance call collapsed Wednesday in a northern Virginia courtroom after being denied bail in his initial court appearance.
Adam Torres, 32, of Culpeper, fainted toward the end of a 20-minute hearing as lawyers discussed a possible December trial date. After standing for several minutes, Torres collapsed, hitting a chair before landing flat on his back. One bailiff cleared the courtroom and another checked Torres’ vital signs as Torres lay on the floor with eyes closed.
The sheriff’s office declined to comment on Torres’ condition, but there was no obvious sign of serious injury or health problems. A sheriff’s deputy was overheard telling Torres’ mother that he was alert several minutes after he fainted, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said he believed Torres was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Torres killed John Geer, 46, of Springfield, in August 2013 after a report of a domestic dispute. Witnesses, including other officers, said Geer was unarmed and had his hands up when he was shot. Torres told investigators he thought Geer might have a weapon hidden in his waist, and that he was concerned Geer might reach for a gun that he had previously set down at his feet.
The two-year delay between the shooting and Monday’s indictment led to allegations that Fairfax County was stonewalling the investigation. Morrogh said the county’s own lawyers withheld from him internal police documents he needed to conduct his investigation until a federal court and an inquiry from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, prodded the county to relent.
At Wednesday’s hearing, defense lawyer John Carroll urged the judge to authorize Torres’ release on $25,000 bail. He said Torres has lived in northern Virginia since he was a child and is not a flight risk.
He also questioned the strength of the government’s case. He pointed out that Geer refused to come out of his home, prompting a 40-minute standoff. Geer had guns in the home, and while Geer had set down one weapon at his feet, Torres has said he could not see that weapon.
“He said he had a gun and was willing to use it,” Carroll said. At some point in the standoff, Carroll said, Geer lowered his hands, prompting Torres to fire a single shot.
“Mr. Geer made a movement Mr. Torres believed was reaching toward the gun,” Carroll said. Torres “believed he was in danger, and that others were in danger.”