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Police tie suspect to Mojo BBQ murder and Ortega robbery
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Police tie suspect to Mojo BBQ murder and Ortega robbery

Police tie suspect to Mojo BBQ murder and Ortega robbery
Photo Credit: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Herman I. Pickens after a 2012 arrest.

Police tie suspect to Mojo BBQ murder and Ortega robbery

Jacksonville Police are assuring the Avondale community they have the suspect from Monday's murder at Mojo BBQ.

24-year-old Herman Pickens is hospitalized after he was shot by police Tuesday afternoon near Jammes and San Juan Avenue. 

Pickens is already charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon from Monday's armed robbery and shooting at the CVS on San Juan and Roosevelt Blvd.  

At a Friday news conference, JSO Chief Annie Smith said they are not adding the murder charge against Pickens because they are still processing evidence and building the case against him.

"But I want the residents of Avondale to know that we are very confident that we have the right person in our custody and that he's not going anywhere.  Residents of Avondale can rest assured that a dangerous criminal has been taken off our streets". 

53-year-old Robert Sutton was shot dead while working inside Mojo BBQ Monday morning. 

An undercover member of the SWAT team shot Pickens on the westside Tuesday afternoon near the intersection of Jammes and San Juan.  His injuries are described as life-threatening.

Police say they placed the suspect under surveillance earlier this week, obtained a warrant for the suspect and ultimately fired because they feared for their lives.

On Tuesday afternoon investigators say the suspect rammed his gold-colored car into an unmarked police car and then took off running with a black backpack.

Chief Annie Smith says the suspect had his hand inside of the backpack as he was running. Smith says officers fired at him two times sending him to the hospital.

She says police later uncovered a gun as well. Police also say there were individuals inside of the car with him at the time of the incident. Those individuals who have not been named, police say, are being questioned downtown at police headquarters.

Patrons and employees we spoke to at Famous Sandwiches at Subs across the street from the Mr. Dragon restaurant where the shooting happened say they watched their quiet restaurant on the corner turn into a full-fledged crime scene complete with police choppers and SWAT teams after the suspect tried to make a run for it. They were shocked at how things turned from quiet to chaotic in just seconds once the chase was on.

They say some of the neighborhoods back behind this area are pretty rough and those we spoke to in the restaurant say they’re not surprised he was hiding out in the area.

A surveillance photo of the suspect was released by police on Monday and police say the flood of tips they received from the public was a huge help in identifying Pickens. They say once they received a positive ID on him, they immediately began their surveillance of him.

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