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Police: 2 shot Jacksonville cops were responding to suicidal person

Less than 10 minutes elapsed from the time of the initial 911 call to the gunfire

By Dan Scanlan
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two Jacksonville Sheriff’s officers were shot, with one critically injured, during a Friday night response to a suicidal person in the 5100 block of Seaboard Avenue on the city’s Westside, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Officers were called out to the house at 10:50 p.m. on reports of a suicidal person inside armed with a rifle, Sheriff’s Office Director Mike Bruno said. When the first officers got there, they heard gunfire inside and set up what is called a contact team. When they began approaching the front door, someone inside began shooting through it with what they learned later was a high-powered rifle, Bruno said.

Less than 10 minutes elapsed from the time of the initial 911 call to the gunfire, Bruno said. A contact team of four to five officers was deemed appropriate, and the SWAT team was not called out, Bruno said.

“It had unfolded so dynamically, and we felt like we had an active shooter type of incident, so we formed the contact team, which is consistent with the training of those officers,” Bruno said. “Any type of extended delay could result in further loss of life.”

As the contact team approached the door, the man with the rifle came out and started firing, Bruno said. Officers exchanged gunfire with the man. In the process, one officer was shot in the stomach, and another was shot in both hands. The man with the rifle was also shot in the exchange of gunfire, Bruno said.

Taken to a local hospital, the suspect was declared dead. One officer was listed in critical condition, the other in stable condition, Bruno confirmed.

Bruno said the officers who went to that front door “knew the seriousness of this and didn’t flinch.”

“We often talk about the inherent dangers of police work,” Bruno said. “Tonight those dangers are all too real for those officers. As I said, as they were approaching the house, they knew that this was a rifle that the individual was shooting and they knew that they were staring danger in the face. And yet they moved forward to meet their commitment.”

Three other people were in the house and had gone to another room earlier in the evening, afraid of the man with the rifle. They called 911 and gave police information as they were responding to the scene. Those three were not injured, Bruno said.

The Sheriff’s Office has blocked off a portion of Seaboard Avenue off Timuquana Road, with police officers, investigators, forensic units and the mobile command center on scene. Bruno said the team would probably be on site for many hours.

The shooting comes on the same night that two officers were shot in Kissimmee in Central Florida and two state troopers were shot and injured in Fairchance, Pa. In Kissimmee, one officer is dead and a second is “gravely injured,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.

©2017 The Florida Times-Union

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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