US park police officer accused of killing fellow officer in accidental shooting appears in court

A U.S. Park Police officer remains in a Fairfax County jail cell Monday, accused of killing a fellow officer in what police say was an accidental shooting Sunday.  

Alexander Roy is charged in connection to the death of Officer Jesse Brown Hernandez. 

Police say the deadly incident happened just after midnight Sunday when four people were in a second-floor apartment here on Old Meadow Road in McLean. Three of those four were U.S. Park Police officers.

Police say Roy was handling a gun he thought didn’t have a bullet in it, but it did and it struck 22-year-old Hernandez in his upper body, killing him. The gun was not Roy’s Park Police service weapon.

Police say alcohol was a factor in the shooting. 

"Apparently they were dry firing and the weapon discharged," said Lieutenant James Curry with Fairfax County Police. He says the victim and suspect were friends.

Radio dispatches, courtesy of OpenMHZ paint a hectic picture as police responded.

Fairfax police confirmed to FOX 5 Monday they worked to secure the building as they worked to locate a suspect and victim and process what was going on inside a large apartment building.

"A shooting where it’s an unintentional shooting, there’s a lot of emotions that are involved in this, not just the moments, of, but even the lifetime after this right now. So they certainly were met with a chaotic scene trying to quickly determine what happened, account for everyone involved, and officers were able to quickly work through that process," Curry said.

Roy appeared in court Monday morning via video conference. He’s been given a temporary attorney and indicated he was working with family to get a more permanent one.     

Loved ones were there too, but declined to comment.      


US Park Police officer killed by another officer in accidental shooting, Fairfax County police say

A U.S. Park Police officer was killed in what police say was an accidental shooting Sunday.

FOX 5 did speak with a neighbor who lives below where the shooting happened. She says heard an argument before the gunshot was fired.

"There was definitely some people gathering and some type of conflict, some woman screaming stop, we weren’t exactly sure what was going on," Joy Dawkins said. "I went out later to walk my dog, and that’s when we saw the building surrounded. Officers at the front desk, and I saw a detective just circling the building, and we weren’t exactly sure what was going on then." 

U.S. Park Police released a statement deferring to the Fairfax County police investigation, declining to provide a picture of the victim or any details about his or Roy’s service.

"Our focus right now is on supporting the family, friends and coworkers of our employees involved in this tragic incident. USPP has nothing further to share at this time," the agency said in a statement.

Curry says this is a sobering reminder.

"You don’t play with a gun," he said. "There are serious consequences when you’re handling a firearm and alcohol and firearms never mix.  We always implore, whatever your background is, whatever your familiarity is with a firearm, alcohol and guns just do not mix. You need to make sure you treat it with respect and you treat all human life with respect when you’re around a firearm."

The exact charge Roy faces is unlawful discharge of a firearm in an occupied building resulting in death.

A Virginia defense attorney tells FOX 5 it’s a bit of a complicated statute in Virginia but if convicted, the penalty is the same as involuntary manslaughter.

Hernandez was an alum of St. Germaine Catholic School. The school expressed their condolences on Facebook, saying: 

"We are saddened to hear the tragic news of the death of our lovely former student, Officer Jesse Brown Hernandez '15. We send our thoughts and prayers to Jesse's family and friends at this difficult time. Jesse was a kind and respectful student and we know the school community will remember him with great warmth and affection. Please keep Jesse and his loved ones in your prayers."