United States

‘Why Shoot Him?' Family Wants Answers After Police Kill Fleeing Suspect

What to Know

  • A federal officer shot a man who fled out of a window Friday morning, police said. Mario Bass was later pronounced dead.
  • A family member said Bass was unarmed and demanded an investigation in a statement.
  • Police went to arrest Bass on eleven warrants, including for abduction and domestic assault and battery.

The family of a domestic violence suspect who police say fled through a hotel window, scuffled with an officer and was shot dead, demanded an investigation and said the suspect was unarmed when he was shot.

Mario Dantoni Bass, 37, was shot by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer behind the Days Inn in Dumfries, Virginia on Friday after he ran away from police, who were trying to arrest him on 11 charges, including abduction.

"He was an unarmed man," Bass' brother, Montre' Bass, told News4. "Why does lethal force have to be used?"

Montre' Bass spoke to News4 outside the Days Inn, where a memorial with candles and flowers was erected in his memory.

Bass' uncle, Kelvin Wayne Bass, released a statement saying the family believes Mario Bass was murdered. In the statement, they demanded an independent investigation and answers from Prince William County Police about the shooting.

"We believe Mario was murdered. That his eluding police," the statement read, "angered them and resulted in his being slayed by a vigilante with a badge and a gun."

Police wouldn't comment on an ongoing investigation, but told InsideNova that they are looking into whether Bass was armed.

None of the arrest warrants police had for Bass were immigration-related, but it's typical for ICE agents to assist in multi-agency efforts.

Police said they were seeking to arrest Bass on abduction, domestic assault and battery, felony grand larceny auto and identity theft charges and various traffic violations dating back to September 2015.

Police began actively searching for Bass after a woman told police on Feb. 15 that Bass forced her into a car after an argument, drove away and assaulted her. 

Prince William County police say that members of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrived at the Days Inn in Dumfries, Virginia, about 9:15 a.m. on Feb. 23 with several arrest warrants for Bass.

When police tried to enter the Bass' room, he bolted out an upper floor window, they said.

An officer found Bass behind the hotel, and officers say a physical altercation ensued.

During the scuffle, an ICE officer shot the suspect in the upper body. Police said he was taken to the hospital with critical injuries, and later said he died.

"I think it should have ended way differently," Montre' Bass said.

The family's statement says Mario was denied his day in court.

"We will not rest," the statement read. "We want for this officer the change Mario was denied... his day in Court."

Prince William County Police said they are investigating the incident and say they will review the findings with the  Commonwealth Attorney's Office to determine any criminal liability.

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