Jacksonville police shoot, kill rifle-wielding man suspected in murder
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man who police said was in possession of a rifle was shot and killed by officers Tuesday afternoon after he ignored commands to stop and drove a vehicle toward members of law enforcement, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Chief Mark Romano, from JSO’s investigation division, said police were in the area of Ernest Street in the Riverside neighborhood at about 1:15 p.m. conducting surveillance and looking for someone who was suspected in a murder and attempted murder, as well as wanted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Romano said detectives located the man, who came out of a house and attempted to make it to his vehicle. When officers went to take him into custody, Romano said, the man fled on foot and was spotted nearby in an alleyway.
“Officers were giving commands for him to stop. He did not stop and he actually pulled a rifle out from underneath the hoodie that he was wearing,” Romano said. “One of our officers fired at the suspect at that time, one time. The suspect continued to run.”
Five officers from JSO’s apprehension unit were in pursuit, the chief said. He said the man was able to get back to his front yard and into the driver’s seat of his vehicle.
Romano said the man was again given commands to stop, but he then drove toward the officers.
“All five officers fired at that vehicle multiple times with their issued firearms. Officers then were able to determine that individual was in fact shot,” Romano said.
The chief said aid was rendered to the man at the scene, but he died from his injuries.
The State Attorney’s Office will conduct an independent investigation. All five officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure following a shooting involving members of law enforcement.
The man was not immediately identified by name, pending next of kin notification. He was said to be in his early 20s.
The man’s family, friends and a woman who claimed to be the mother of his two children arrived here to get answers as to why police used deadly force. A close friend of the man, who asked not to be identified, says JSO needs to publicly release the bodycam video to prove the use of deadly force by officers was necessary.
“I just want to know this was justified, this was no, ‘hey, we’re going to gun down another Black man,’ or ‘hey, he looks like a criminal in this neighborhood,’ the friend said. “These are the types of things I’ve been through and that’s why I want to know these bodycams support every single detail they got going on.”