Jasper Aaron LynchAge 26
7 Jul 2022
McClean, Virginia (USA)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/tdor2022/07-Jul-2022/Jasper Aaron Lynch
Aaron was shot by police during a mental health crisis.
HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Aaron Lynch, a 26-year-old transgender man who was shot and killed by police in McClean, Virginia on July 7. Aaron’s death is at least the 26th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2022. We say “at least” because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported.
At 26, Aaron had his whole life in front of him. My thoughts and prayers are with Aaron’s loved ones. Aaron’s death is a tragic result of our system’s ineffectiveness in caring for people who are struggling mentally and emotionally. People, especially those of multiple marginalized identities, suffer every day as a result. His life did not have to end like this. We demand more focus and funding on mental health care in our country, including the addition of mental health counselors to respond to certain critical situations. No family should have to bear this pain."
On July 7, police responded to a call made by a friend who was concerned about Aaron’s wellbeing and went to his home to check in on him. It was reported that police arrived with a trained mental health co-responder but Aaron was not found on the property. Police then returned a second time without the co-responder. After a back-and-forth with police, officers attempted to tase Aaron unsuccessfully. One officer then fired his weapon, shooting Aaron four times. No officers were injured and Aaron was pronounced dead at the scene. The shooting is under investigation and all involved officers have been placed on restricted duty.
Aaron’s family released the following statement to local press:
“Our son, Aaron, was experiencing a severe mental health crisis on July 7. He was scared and asked for both of the 911 calls that were made that day. We believe that the three police officers who answered the second 911 call could have, and should have, handled this far differently. To respond to Aaron’s mental health crisis by shooting him at all, let alone multiple times, cannot be justified. We recognize that, at times, police officers face grave and unknown dangers in the line of duty, but that was not the case for that call at our home regarding our son. Aaron was about 5’ 6", slightly built, and holding just a bottle and a decorative mask. As parents, we mourn the heartbreaking loss of our son and are left with only memories and regret. Had we known there was any possibility that the police responding to the second 911 call would use lethal force against Aaron during a mental health crisis, we would not have involved them until a mental health counselor could be present, as was the case for the response to the first 911 call. We hope our efforts to find out more about this incident will, in the future, help families in similar situations avoid such a tragic outcome.”