Updated: Police officer fatally shoots man after Duke Street confrontation

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(Melissa Quinn)

Updated 7:19 a.m. Wednesday

By Derrick Perkins and Melissa Quinn

A domestic incident on the 3400 block of Duke St. Monday afternoon ended after a city police officer shot and killed an armed suspect, officials said.

This is the spot where Taft Sellers collapsed, according to relatives. (Courtesy Photo)

Officers responded to an Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority complex on the corner of Duke and Arell Court – not far from the city’s police headquarters – on a domestic call about 2 p.m., said Ashley Hildebrandt, police department spokeswoman. The suspect, 30-year-old Taft Sellers, was wielding a firearm when they arrived, she said.

Denise Philpott, who was nannying around the corner when the confrontation happened, recalled hearing eight distinct gunshots. Glancing out of the home’s kitchen window, she saw a man peak out of his garage and then jerked his head back inside.

Neighbors have described the area as safe and Philpott agreed.

“This was out of the ordinary,” she said.

Officials released few other details about the shooting, including what prompted the gunfire. Witnesses at the scene reported hearing multiple gunshots. The fatal confrontation remains under investigation, Hildebrandt said. The officers involved are on paid administrative leave pending its outcome.

Sandra Fowler, ARHA spokeswoman, said organization officials met with the individuals involved in the incident Tuesday morning.

Sellers friends have taken to Twitter and Facebook to express their condolences. Resident Patrick Cole, who knew Sellers from their elementary school days, described the T.C. Williams graduate as a kind and friendly man.

Friends of Taft Sellers, the man they say was fatally shot by a police officer Monday afternoon, have taken to Facebook. (Image/Facebook)

“Everyone is just dumbfounded,” he said. “This is not who Taft was, this is that last person you would expect something like this would happen to.”

Based on conversations with mutual friends, Cole said Sellers – who enlisted in the military after graduation – was struggling with depression over the weekend. The incident has left them shocked and saddened, he said.

“He was a really friendly guy,” Cole said. “He was like-able; it was hard to not be friends with him. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. I don’t think I ever heard him raise his voice. That wasn’t his demeanor – he was laid back and calm.”