A Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office deputy was shot in the face in Northwest Jacksonville Friday night during a confrontation with a burglary suspect, who was killed in the exchange, authorities said.
The shooting took place after five JSO deputies responded to a possible burglary and located a possible suspect, who was not compliant and fired at the officers, according to Sheriff T.K. Waters. Each of the officers returned fire, killing the suspect, he said.
The injured officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to the hospital.
"I am fortunate that we didn’t lose an officer tonight," Sheriff Waters said at a press conference Friday evening.
The sheriff opened the press conference by saying officers often hope to return home safely and that this incident was a good example of such an evening.
"People think it’s a cliché that officers just want to go home safely every night but there’s no further testament like what happened tonight," Waters said.
Waters explained the shooting was the culmination of investigative efforts that started at 5:30 p.m., when officers received calls of a possible burglary at a residence "very close" to the eventual shooting. The shooting was "about two blocks" away from the initial residence, Waters said later.
"The officers were following up on that burglary, and at about 6:30 p.m., they located a suspect and a suspect’s vehicle at the 1800 block of Hardee St.," he said.
The suspect was asleep in the back passenger seat, Waters noted.
"They approached the vehicle, spoke to a resident of the house at that location, and found out who was inside the vehicle," he added.
The sheriff said police were able to track some of the stolen items to the residence.
The five JSO officers returned to the car, formulated a plan, and noticed the handgun on the roof. The firearm was removed.
"They made a plan to open the door, not go inside, and have a conversation with him [the male suspect]," Waters explained.
"They asked him to show them his hands on several occasions, like seven or eight times, from different officers," he continued. "They asked him also to get out of the car."
He refused, told the police not to point the flashlight in his face, and "for an unknown reason" fired at the officers, Waters said.
The bullet grazed the officer’s face on the left side.
"Officers returned fire, all five of them, striking him several times [and] killing him at the scene," the sheriff said.
Police did not say why the firearm was on the roof.
The sheriff explained that all five officers were placed on administrative leave per office policy.
He said he was "grateful" his officers were alive and safe.
The JSO and the State Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident.