Man killed by officer had long criminal history
Officer grazed by bullet during scuffle with suspect
The man shot and killed in an altercation with police officers Monday night had a long criminal history -- including two arrests for murder -- and repeatedly yelled, "I'm not going back to jail," according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Police identified the man as 38-year-old Anthony Harris (pictured, below), saying he was shot seven time after trying to pull an officer's handgun from his holster while they were struggling on the sidewalk in front of a home in the 1700 block of Pearl Street.
JSO Chief Tom Hackney said the officers were responding to a 911 domestic battery call about a 17-year-old being injured by his father just before 8 p.m. Hackney said one officer approached Harris from behind while the other was in front.
As the officers were trying to handcuff Harris, he said several times he wasn't going back to jail and began to resist. In the scuffle, all three fell to the ground.
Hackney said when Harris (pictured, right, in a previous booking photo) tried to get Officer Kevin Kilcoin's weapon out, Officer Scott Williams disengaged, stood up and fired at Harris, hitting him seven times.
Kilcoin was injured in the thigh, but it was unclear if he was grazed by a bullet, hit by a ricochet or a sharp object on the sidewalk while on the ground. He was hospitalized overnight, but has been released and is expected to make a full recovery.
Police say Harris had been arrested 25 times since he was 15 -- including two on charges of murder, along with armed robbery, kidnapping and various drug and other charges. He also served time in state prison for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death.
According to court records, Harris had been found guilty of three felonies over the past two decades. When he died Monday night, he had only been out of jail for 11 days on his most recent arrest on drug charges and failing to pay child support.
"These are the most dangerous criminals, institutionalized and can't survive on the outside," Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson said. "Sometimes they intentionally commit crimes."
Kilcoin, who has been on the force less than four years, and Williams, who's been with JSO for six years, were both placed on administrative leave -- standard practice after a police-involved shooting.
Harris' mother said she was a witness to her son's death. She wouldn't talk to Channel 4's Tarik Minor about it, but asked a family friend why police couldn't have used a Taser gun or pepper spray rather rather than a gun.
"It affected the family real bad, because she stood in the doorway and watched her son get shot," Debra Merryweather said. "It was real bad."
Police say Officer Williams chose to use lethal force because he and his partners' lives could have been at risk.
Jefferson says that from what he knows about this case, the officer did the right thing.
"When this person went for the officer's gun, he wasn't bluffing," Jefferson said. "By getting the gun, unsnapping the gun, he could have shot those officers and then even shot himself."
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