Updated: Police officer fatally shoots man after Duke Street confrontation

(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.”



  1. Katy B must be worried about her property value after this happened there. I would worry more about property value in Alexandria period considering the Alexandria PD are such trigger happy bunch of good ol boys. Move to Alexandria Va where there cops protect and execute.

    • “Trigger Happy Bunch of Good ‘ol boys?” What ARE you talking about? How often does something like this happen here? RARELY.

      The guy pointed a gun at the police – period, end of story. Are you saying they should have let him shoot a cop or citizen or two before stopping him???? Mr. liberal ex-va guy (or dope dealing criminal ex-va guy), what about guns are bad, why did this guy pull a gun on the police?

      At community meetings, when calling them for neighborhood disturbances, when getting pulled over for driving a little faster than I should, I have found our police force to be diverse, professional, and very often friendly.

      You sound like somebody who’s had problems obeying the law and want to blame that on the police.

      This is a sad situation for all involved, to include the family that will miss this guy (even though he did something stupid) and the police officers that have to deal with the trauma of the situation as well.

  2. Yeah, I’m sure ex-va guy is just trying to cause a little stir. The Alexandria Police Depart. is FAR from a bunch of good-ole boys. You want good-ole boys, then drive south about 40 mies, you’ll get your dose there. Plain and simple, you point a gun at the police or even make a gesture as to do that, then expect to get shot. It’s tragic that it happened, and don’t forget about the officers involved. Nobody in uniform wants to go through that.

    • Why was Denise Philpott (whomever she is) the only person saying she saw taft swinging a gun around.. that is so far from the truth…. no one saw taft draw a gun…. like they said… the good ole boys shot and killed this young BLACK man for NO apparent reason….he NEVER drew His gun on those officers and that is exactly why the case is STILL PENDING 90 days later… … like many many people….he was a registered gun owner/ holder….. and that didnt give six or seven officers to open fire on this young BLACK MAN ………………AND I WILL REITERATE WANT WAS SAID EARLIER, “Trigger Happy Bunch of Good ‘ol boys?” ” P.S. IF EVERYONE HAD WITNESSED TAFT JAMAR SELLERS W/ A GUN IN HIS HAND~ THE CASE WOULD HAVE BEEN CLOSED BY NOW………………………………………..INVESTIGATION STILL PENDING … YEAH RITE…..denise philpott is prolly part of the good ole boy/girl network too…. who knows …. alexandria has a very close knit group of people in these 1/2 million dollar homes and more !!!!