Police have arrested a 55-year-old Westside woman on a murder charge after she ran to a neighbor's house about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to say she shot and killed her boyfriend, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Officers responding to a home in the 11000 block of Williams Avenue, just north of Chaffee Road, found 57-year-old Cecil Scroggie shot to death. Maria Bratton was charged later Wednesday after police said she gave an account that was "inconsistent with physical evidence at the scene" and kept changing her story, according to a police report.
"When they responded, they located a white female who had been detained by an off-duty Jacksonville Beach police officer who lives in the area. She said she shot and killed her boyfriend," said Sgt. Shawn Coarsey of JSO's homicide unit.
The neighbor knew the off-duty officer in the area and contacted him for help, Coarsey said.
Bratton was initially taken downtown for questioning before being charged. Police said she and Scroggie had been drinking and using drugs before Bratton shot him with a handgun.
"It's not something anyone wants to deal with," said Michael, the man's nephew, who didn't want to give his last name. "It's a hard thing because my uncle was a really good man and he didn't deserve this. You know, we're not the best people in the world, but we try."
Michael said he doesn't know the woman who police say shot his uncle. His family is still looking for answers.
"I'm just waiting on (police), waiting on them to tell us something now," Michael said.
Police searched for clues for hours, trying to determine exactly what happened. Neighbors said they can't believe something like this could happen near their homes.
"It's shocking, you know, especially when it's on your street," said a neighbor named Casey, who wouldn't give her last name. "It's not something that you would expect. It's a quiet neighborhood, you know. We don't hear much."
But Wednesday morning, Casey said she did hear gunshots.
"Probably about 3, 3:30 or so, I heard like a pop, then probably like 40-45 seconds later I heard another pop, and that was it," she said. "Then about 4 is when I heard sirens and stuff like that go down there."