JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The 23-year-old man shot and killed during a scuffle with officers following an early morning traffic stop in a Woodland Acres area was a convicted felon and a known member of a gang, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Poliice say John Parker fired four shots at officers -- all the bullets in his gun -- before officers returned fire and killed him. All the shots were fired at close range as officers were trying to subdue Parker.
According to JSO Chief Tom Hackney, the officer-involved shooting ended a series of events that began when an officer pulled a vehicle over for a broken tail light in the 300 block of Arlington Place around 3:20 a.m. That officer called for backup and a second officer arrived quickly on the scene.
While one officer was getting information from the driver, the second officer asked the passenger for identification. Hackney said the passenger hesitated, then took off running.
While the officer chased Parker (pictured, right from a previous arrest), the other officer drove one block down to India Avenue.
Officers were able to tackle Parker and take him to the ground.
"The subject was able to break loose. He sat up, and as he sat up, he produced a firearm from what we believe to be his waistband area. The subject began firing at the officers," Hackney said.
Hackney said officers were forced to fire back, hitting and killing Parker.
"I see him and then I hear, 'Pop, pop, pop,'" said Danarius Noble, who says he was the driver of the car. "I heard several gunshots. I don't know who shot first, but I saw the police shooting. I did see the police shooting."
A nearby house was also hit by a bullet, but everyone inside was OK.
Hackney said it's fortunate the .45-caliber handgun Parker pulled (pictured, left) didn't have more bullets loaded and that the officers were not hurt. He said it's situations like this that demonstrate the dangers of the job.
"What you think is a routine traffic stop with a tail light being out turns into something where someone produces a gun, shoots at you, and it causes you to use deadly force," Hackney said. "You never know in this job what you're going to face."
Officers Craig Soucek and Rudy Hathaway were placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, which is standard practice after police-involved shootings.
Noble, who told Channel 4 he was driving the car that was pulled over, said he cooperated with police and was not charged with any crime. He said he didn't know why Parker ran.
Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said anyone with a weapon who does anything other than comply with with an officer's instructions is putting themselves in danger.
"If you try to pull it out, if you try to shoot it, if you try to display it, if he did anything other than try to surrender himself and the weapon, then that could easily lead to deadly force," Jefferson said.
Police say Parker was a member of the 103rd Street Gang with numerous arrests for drugs, burglary, possession of a weapon on school property, resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer, and that his mother is a corrections officer for the department.
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