In-Custody Death in Leesburg Under Investigation

The death of a 26-year-old man in police custody Friday is under investigation.

According to a press release, Leesburg Police’s Emergency Communications Center received an assist rescue call for service on Friday, Dec. 3, at approximately 6:32 p.m. The caller reported that an approximately 30-year-old male was in the Best Western Leesburg hotel lobby exhibiting irrational behavior. The caller believed that the male had ingested drugs or was experiencing a medical emergency.

Following notification of next of kin, the male was identified Monday as 26-year-old Brian White of Leesburg.

Loudoun County fire-rescue personnel responded to assist with a medical emergency, and arrived on scene at 6:33 p.m. A fire crew was first to arrive, said Laura Rinehart, public information officer for the Loudoun fire-rescue system. It is standard practice for the closest available unit to respond to any emergency, she said, and given that all county firefighters are also trained EMTs, they would be able to provide medical care in a medical emergency, she said. Upon arrival, the fire crew located White in the hotel’s parking lot, and Leesburg Police officers arrived shortly thereafter. 

As Leesburg Police officers responded they observed fire-rescue personnel attempting to treat White in the hotel’s parking lot.  He was very agitated and combative. Officers assisted in restraining White in handcuffs for his safety as well as the safety of others on scene while he received medical treatment. Due to White’s continued agitated and combative behavior, officers then secured him in leg restraints for the safety of the male as well as the safety of others on scene.  

An ambulance arrived in the hotel parking lot at approximately 6:56 p.m., according to Rinehart. White continued to be combative and violent, Rinehart said, as fire-rescue personnel attempted to load him into the ambulance for transport to the hospital. He eventually was transferred by ambulance to Inova Loudoun Hospital in Lansdowne. During the transport he remained agitated and combative and fire-rescue personnel were not able to provide any medical care during ambulance transport, or even take his vital signs, Rinehart said. He spent the entirety of the ambulance ride, Rinehart said, thrashing around and attempting to get out of his restraints. A Leesburg Police Department officer remained with White during the ambulance transport and at the hospital when his medical treatment was turned over to hospital staff. The ambulance arrived at the hospital at 7:29 p.m., Rinehart said, and White’s care was turned over to Inova Loudoun’s medical team. He was alive when he arrived at the hospital, she said.

According to Officer Michael Drogin, public information officer for the police department, he believes White did receive at least preliminary medical care from hospital staff, before being declared deceased at 7:53 p.m. Hospital spokesperson Renee Brohard said Inova could not provide further details on the patient’s care due to HIPAA regulations. 

Leesburg Chief of Police Gregory Brown has requested the Northern Virginia Critical Incident Response Team investigate the incident in the interest of promoting transparency and public confidence. CIRT is a multi-jurisdictional team designed to provide efficient, effective, and standardized investigations in critical incidents such as in-custody deaths. In addition to the CIRT investigation, Leesburg Police is also conducting an administrative investigation, Drogin said. While White was in the hospital at the time of his passing, he was still under the custody of the police department.

An autopsy will be conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine cause and manner of death. This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Leesburg Police Department at 703-771-4500.

2 thoughts on “In-Custody Death in Leesburg Under Investigation

  • 2021-12-04 at 1:16 pm

    So sad to read about this tragedy — during the Holiday season, no less. As John Donne wrote: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And, therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”

  • 2021-12-04 at 3:26 pm

    I’m sure the body cam will explain everything. I’ll hold judgment until then.

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