A 54-year-old man was shot and killed near the Huron-Sophia apartment complex in Northwest Jacksonville late Wednesday night. The complex was also evacuated for a couple hours while police investigated the possibility of an explosive device.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was called to the complex on Sophia Street near Commonwealth Avenue about 11 p.m. in reference to a suspicious death. Police said Ronnie Mathis was found shot multiple times inside his vehicle, and his vehicle rolled into an apartment building.
Police were investigating whether a grenade was in the vehicle because witnesses told investigators the victim was known to carry a grenade. Residents at the apartment complex were evacuated for a couple hours.
"We had to withdraw from the scene. Our JSO bomb squad unit responded, searched the vehicle, no explosive devices located. We're now processing the scene and looking for any and all evidence that may help us solve what exactly happened here," said Sgt. Jay Farhat.
Residents were allowed back inside at 2:15 a.m. and no explosive device was found.
"We don't have any motives and we don't have any suspects at this point in time," Farhat said.
Rude Beard was in the area and said he heard the gunshots Wednesday night and found the victim.
"I walked out front, I was talking to my neighbor, I heard five or six shots, I believe it was six," Beard said. "I saw the car smoking, I ran to the car. When I got over there, I saw two gunshot wounds, no response. I was on the phone with non-emergency. I don't know why I called that number, just force of habit. I told them the man was down, he was not breathing, he was dead."
Beard said the victim's car ran into another vehicle.
"He rammed into the rear-end of another car," Beard said. "The tires were still turning when I got there, from what I can tell. I wasn't really looking at that, I was looking at the driver. The window was shot out, busted out, the window was shattered. The driver had 2 wounds on him and he was gone."
Farhat said they are trying to gather information from anyone who saw what happened.
"Anybody that saw anything, we need them to come forward at this point in time," Farhat said. "We know there were numerous people outside, but no one is admitting they saw anything. If anyone can contact the Sheriff's Office or Crime Stoppers and let us know what they saw, we'd greatly appreciate it."
Anyone with any information about the killing is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).