JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer was shot in the face on Tuesday night during a confrontation with a suspicious driver, police say.
Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said the officer was attacked in the parking lot of Baptist Medical Center South. The hospital went on lockdown during the incident for safety reasons and all patients and staff are safe.
Here is how the situation unfolded Tuesday night:
- JSO said at 9:32 p.m., an off-duty officer working at Baptist South called dispatch because he noticed a white car that was circling the parking lot, so he went out to investigate.
- The officer attempted to stop the car with his police cruiser, but the car did not stop.
- The officer was told not to pursue the vehicle for safety reasons, but other officers in the area that were listening to the call responded and they set up in various areas around the hospital.
- One of the officers saw the car coming his way and raised his hand as it approached and said “stop the car” numerous times.
- The subject in the car rolled the window down slightly, held out what looked like a gun and said “shoot me.” The officers did not shoot at that time.
- The car pulled forward and stopped next to another police cruiser and fired one shot into that car, but that officer was not hit and did not return fire at that time.
- The car kept driving as other police cruisers followed the car and attempted a PIT maneuver, which was unsuccessful.
- The car was then behind the police cruiser that the subject fired into and rammed it from behind, pushing it forward and veering to the side.
- The subject continued forward, ramming another police cruiser head on and then crashed into a pole.
- Numerous cruisers then blocked the subject in and gave loud verbal commands for the subject to exit the car repeatedly. The subject refused to exit the car.
- An officer approached the car from the right rear and tried to open the rear passenger door.
- The subject shot at the officer, hitting him in the face.
- Five officers returned fire, hitting the subject several times, killing him at the scene.
Waters said Wednesday morning that the officer is improving. Law enforcement sources tell Action News Jax that the officer is Taylor Smith. Waters told Action News Jax news partner News 104.5 WOKV that the officer is engaged to be married.
The officer was life-flighted to UF Health Jacksonville, as UF Health has the only Level I trauma system in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.
Waters said this is the fifth officer-involved shooting of the year and the third where an officer has been shot.
Waters also told Action News Jax that the officer shot graduated from the same class as Officer Malik Daricaud, who was shot and suffered critical injuries during a traffic stop on March 27.
Waters said in his nearly 32 years as an officer, he’s never seen anything like what has happened so far this year with this many officer-involved shootings.
“I’ve been sheriff since November. It’s getting very ridiculous, it’s very dangerous and it’s concerning. So we want to make sure our officers and our citizens know, they did the right thing tonight,” Waters said.
Waters told WOKV that the officer is improving after suffering injuries to his chin and neck area. He still remains in critical condition at this time.
Action News Jax is working to learn more about the suspect who was killed and the officer who was hurt.
Other local law enforcement agencies have posted messages of support for the Jacksonville officer.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with this injured officer and their JSO family this morning. NCSO is wishing for a full and speedy recovery,” the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page.
“Another beautiful morning in Clay County! As we start our day, let’s all take a moment to pray for the JSO officer shot last night,” Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook posted on her Facebook page.
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