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Florida deputy killed in line of duty was 1 shift away from retirement

Corporal Brian LaVigne was a man dedicated to service to his community, the sheriff said.

BRANDON, Fla. — UPDATE: Corporal Brian LaVigne's accused killer has been charged with murder. Click here for the latest updates.

On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said anyone who is interested in donating the Lavigne family is asked to do so through the Lynn Sowers Memorial Foundation. You can find the link here.

Previous story below:

Corporal Brian LaVigne is being remembered as someone dedicated to his family and community, a great family man who worked to mentor the younger members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

LaVigne died Monday when a man, who was fleeing deputies, intentionally crashed into the driver's side of his cruiser on Lumsden Road, Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a news conference. 

He was 54 years old.

LaVigne had one more day of work before he was to retire after 30 years, the sheriff said. He is survived by his wife and two adult children; one is a deputy with the sheriff's office.

"You can imagine the heartache that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is experiencing right now," Chronister said.

Around 3:45 p.m. Monday, Chronister said deputies responded to The Paddock Club apartments just off Lumsden Road on a call about a resident who was throwing items off his balcony. Seeing there was no crime, they left.

A neighbor called for help after 5 p.m., saying the man, later identified as 28-year-old Travis Garrett, now was naked and throwing cookies at neighbors. Deputies again responded to the apartments.

At this time, Chronister said, Garrett was combative and hit a deputy in the head with enough force that he fell to the ground. Another deputy then deployed his Tazer, but it was ineffective. 

Deputies called for backup as Garrett got into his car and tried to get away, the sheriff said. He rammed through the back gate of the complex and eventually ended up going westbound on Lumsden Road.

"Corporal LaVigne was in the area, he was actually in the turn lane where he could make a turn onto Lumsden Boulevard," Chronister said. "This individual, Mr. Garrett, is traveling at a high rate of speed. Mr. Garrett intentionally switches two lanes and goes off into the turn lane to strike Corporal LaVigne's vehicle."

Garrett went "as fast as he could make that car go," hitting the driver's side of LaVigne's cruiser, Chronister continued. The crash was said to be destructive enough that responding deputies could not immediately get LaVigne out.

"He's unconscious," Chronister said. "They're doing everything they can, from breaking windows, trying to crawl in from the back window."

Firefighters, using the Jaws of Life, eventually were able to free LaVigne. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Several charges are pending against Garrett, likely including battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing and alluding and others for LaVigne's death, the sheriff said.

RELATED: Tampa Bay law enforcement agencies send condolences after Hillsborough County deputy dies in line of duty

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