JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams issued an apology Thursday to the mother of a man who he misidentified as the gunman who took 11 hostages inside a Community First Credit Union in Northwest Jacksonville.
Deondre Shuman, a bank teller at the credit union on Edgewood Avenue West who was taken hostage Thursday morning, was misidentified as the suspect by Williams during a media briefing after a SWAT team swarmed the building and freed the hostages, as well as two others who were hiding inside.
After the briefing, the Williams was informed that the name he provided was not the suspect's name. The Sheriff's Office later said it had actually identified Nicholas Humphrey as the gunman who pointed a gun to the heads of the hostages and threatened to kill them.
The mother of Deondre Shuman, Latarsha Shuman, said she was in utter disbelief when she heard her son's name.
"My heart just dropped because, I mean, you are the mother and your son's name is being released as the suspect," Latarsha Shuman said.
Even after the mistake was corrected, Latarsha Shuman said she was very disappointed and upset.
"I am not pleased with the releasing of the name that was incorrect, stating that my son Deondre was the suspect. He was not the suspect," she said. "But other than that, I am just grateful that it's resolved and take care of."
After her son was rescued, Latarsha Shuman then took him home to explain everything that happened.
According to a statement released by the Sherif'f's Office, Williams later called the mother and apologized:
"In the course of providing the public/media a statement, following the safe resolution of today’s hostage situation, the sheriff referenced an individual as the suspect. At the conclusion of the press briefing, he was advised that the name he provided was inaccurate, and the individual was not the arrested suspect. Our Public Information Office provided the correct suspect name. The Sheriff called the misidentified man’s mother to apologize. We regret the error."
During the confusion of the situation, Williams said, he mistakenly used the name of one of the hostages as a suspect.
"In the end of the event, we knew that family members of the suspect were coming to the scene. We had alerted patrol officers. We didn't bring them. They were coming on their own from what we heard. So we had alerted patrol officers. Hey, if you have someone identifying themselves as a family member, get them to the command post so we can figure out who they are. So someone did come. I think the father of Deondre came to the scene, and said, 'Hey, my son's in the ban.' So by the time we got to the command post, all of them, the take down was happening, all that," Williams said. "So, just, in the confusion, the name was applied as a suspect. That was my error putting it out."
Williams said Thursday evening that Humphrey's motive in the credit union hostage incident was still unclear.
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