JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 51-year-old man who held the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office SWAT team at bay for hours Thursday in a Southside home was found dead about 1:30 p.m. of what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officers initially responded at about 8:45 a.m. to a call of a distraught man at a doctor's office in the 10000 block of Centurion Parkway, off Deerwood Park Boulevard. By the time they arrived, the man had gone home and barricaded himself in the home on Aztec Drive West, near Atlantic Boulevard, between Kernan and Hodges boulevards.
Police believed the man was armed and suicidal.
"We have no idea what he's distraught about," JSO spokesman Christian Hancock said.
SWAT team negotiators talked to him via a bullhorn and phone. Police said there were no hostages.
Neighbors were evacuated from the area.
According to JSO Chief Michelle Cook, when negotiators lost contact with the man, SWAT officers entered the home and found the man dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Cook said police never fired any weapons into the home.
A woman who neighbors said was his wife was there with police the whole time. The man's parents also came by shortly after the SWAT team left.
"It's not how we thought it would end. I would hope that we would be able to get to him and to get the help that he needed," said neighbor Roz Rush, who was forced to evacuate her home. "He was a very nice man. He was a great -- as far as I know -- a very good father, he was a good neighbor. He helped us in times of need. And I am just real sad to hear that it ended in his death."
Rush, who lives next door, was one of several neighbors who waited outside the police perimeter for hours.
"The policeman was standing there with his rifle out, tactical rifle," she said. "And he indicated to me that he needed me to evacuate my home because there was an incident in the neighborhood. It gave me time to get my phone, my keys and my car."
As word spread of the man's death, those who knew him broke out into tears after a tragic ending to a long ordeal.
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