We're learning today that the police worry that the couple involved in the police shooting outside Academy Sports may have been out for revenge.
Leslie Cowan was shot and killed by police on Tuesday following a confrontation. Police say that Tammy Lynn Gill lived and worked at the Atlantic Self Storage in Mayport, and was about to be fired. Twenty minutes before police received the 911 call from Academy Sports, they say Gill and Cowan sent an email threatening the business' owner and family members.
Chief Tom Hackney of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says the couple brought a shotgun into the store on Atlantic Boulevard around 9:20 a.m., starting a chain of events that left the Cowan dead after being shot by police.
While the store does perform gun repairs, they say that it's their policy is not to allow customers to bring guns inside themselves. They say Cowan told an employee at the door that he was not going to give up the loaded shotgun. When he was confronted again in the ammunition aisle, he reportedly told employees that anyone who tried to take his gun would get his or her head blown off.
Store management says they then called police and completed the couple’s transaction in order to expedite their leaving.
The store personnel gave a description of the couple to police, and that of the pickup truck they were driving. As the couple were beginning to drive away, police tried to stop the vehicle.
Police say Gill was driving the pickup and refused to stop while leaving the parking lot. They then say that Cowan pointed a revolver at police through a rear sliding window of the truck, and this provoked officer Bradley Hudson to fire his service rifle at Cowan, killing him.
Officer Hudson has been placed on administrative leave, as is protocol any time an officer is involved in a shooting.
Gill is in police custody and Hackney says she is cooperating. Police say she also had a gun in the truck under her leg at the time police were chasing them. She is charged with carrying a concealed firearm, making written or verbal threats, and fleeing from police.
The motive for bringing the shotgun remains unclear and police don't know for certain what the couple planned to do after they left Academy Sports. Chief Hackney commended the quick-thinking store employees for calling police and staying on the line to relay valuable information that helped police to stop the couple and may have averted a catastrophe if the two had planned to seek revenge.
According to Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda and including Tuesday's police shooting, the year to date numbers are:
Number of police involved shootings: 16
Number of police involved shootings where an individual was shot by officer gunfire: 10
Number of fatalities out of those 10 struck by officer gunfire: 6