Legislators mark fifth anniversary of Bijan Ghaiser’s death, still no answers from FBI

Legislators mark fifth anniversary of Bijan Ghaiser’s death, still no answers from FBI

Rebecca Barnabi
(© fotosr52 – stock.adobe.com)

Yesterday marked five years since the death of Bijan Ghaiser.

Ghaiser was born in Fairfax County to Iranian parents in 1992. He was a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

On Nov. 17, 2017, he drove southbound in the city of Alexandria on the George Washington Memorial Parkway to his parents’ house for dinner. He suddenly stopped in traffic and was rear-ended by an Uber driver. The Uber driver and Uber passenger reported the incident to 911.

U.S. Park Police were assisted by Fairfax County Police in looking for Ghaiser’s vehicle. When pulled over, a Park Police officer approached Ghaiser’s vehicle with gun drawn. Ghaiser drove away, and police pursued at 57 mph.

Ghaiser was stopped again in the Fort Hunt area, and Park Police parked in front of his vehicle to prevent his escape, but as his vehicle began to move, Park Police opened fire.

Ghaiser received four fatal gun shot wounds and died 10 days later in the hospital.

The FBI investigated the shooting, but has not released information.

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton, all of Virginia, released a statement Thursday.

“Today marks five years since Bijan was shot and killed by U.S. Park Police. While we appreciate that the current leadership of the Department of the Interior has taken several positive steps to ensure that the failures that led to the tragic death of this young man don’t happen again, we remain deeply disappointed that the Ghaisar family’s pleas for justice and closure have not yet been answered. Bijan’s friends and family deserve closure for the killing of Bijan, which includes making sure that the individuals responsible for his death are finally held accountable,” the statement said.

The statement further said that investigations in cases about use of force “should be handled in a timely manner and include constant information sharing with the families involved and the public. Failure to do so undermines public trust in law enforcement and our institutions. It is our sincere hope that through increased transparency and communication, the Ghaisar family will finally receive the closure they need.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.