HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is in mourning this week after the death of Master Corporal Brian LaVigne. But for one deputy, it was more than losing a co-worker.
“He was my dad. He’s my best friend,” Deputy Caitlin LaVigne said.
Master Corporal Brian LaVigne was killed Monday night after deputies say a fleeing suspect intentionally crashed into the driver’s side of his cruiser. He was just one shift away from retirement.
His daughter Caitlin also works for the sheriff’s office. She has been with the sheriff’s office for nine years and spoke this week about her late father.
“He was hardworking, he was loyal, funny, he was just a good person to be around,” Caitlin LaVigne said. “If you needed something, you could call him at any time and he would drop everything and help you if he could. And even if he couldn’t, he would.”
In a video message released Friday, Caitlin described the many different roles her father played in her life growing up.
“He was, I think, genuinely one of, if not the best person I knew. He was my role model. I wanted to be just like him in every way.”
She said her father meant everything to their family and vice versa. She described the love her parents had for each other as they were high school sweethearts.
“You knew they were meant to be together,” she said.
She also expressed how she and her sister were Brian’s pride and joy.
“He’d take his vacation time to coach soccer for us. He’d spend every weekend with us. He worked midnights for years, years, years, passing up promotions just to stay on midnight so that he could be home when we got up and then he’d be up when we got home from school,” she explained. “Everyone knew we were his priority.”
While his family was most important, Caitlin also described how dedicated her father was to serving his fellow deputies.
“He was a cop’s cop. He took care of his people. He made sure that they went home on time. He made sure that they were taken care of,” she said. “He was genuinely supportive and loving and loyal to his people.”
Master Corporal LaVigne was Sergeant Tim Sullivan’s Field Training Deputy in 1999. Their professional relationship grew into a friendship over the years. Master Corporal LaVigne even introduced Sergeant Sullivan to his wife.
Sullivan, who has been with HCSO since 1999, echoed Caitlin’s sentiment that Brian was not only a great man but a great role model and friend.
“Brian was a very charismatic person. His personality was just magnetic, contagious, just wanted to be around the guy,” he said. “Brian was a cop’s cop. He knew how, with a recruit, to instill the values that they need in the profession as a person and as a cop.”
Master Corporal LaVigne’s visitation and funeral will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at Idlewild Baptist Church located at 18333 Exciting Idlewild Boulevard in Lutz. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m.
Both the visitation and service to honor the life of LaVigne will be open to the public.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the LaVigne family is asked to do so through the Lynn Sowers Memorial Foundation. This is the official way to donate to the family.