Six hours after a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office SWAT team surrounded a house on Cantauri Road where they thought they'd cornered a robbery suspect, officers raided the house and found no one inside.
Officer Melissa Bujeda said officers searching for 33-year-old Cornelius Mann on a robbery warrant had the house under surveillance when a woman and children came out about 8 a.m. Friday and confirmed he was inside.
The house, northeast of the intersection of 103rd Street and Ricker Road, was then surrounded and negotiators began trying to make contact with the suspect.
Just after 2 p.m., officers fired tear gas into the home and forced entry, but no one was inside the house.
"We believe he was in that house, but he may have slipped out prior to our arrival," Bujeda said.
Surrounding homes were evacuated and people were kept out of the neighborhood as officers tried to make contact with the suspect.
Neighbors sent photos of heavily armed police and an armored vehicle in the neighborhood.
"There's a lot of guns and a lot of cops out there and they're all in my backyard," said Caitlyn Johnson.
While all the police activity was scary to neighbors, officers packed up and move on to the next phase of their search for Mann.
"This is what we do; we chase leads all day long," Bujeda said. "Some leads come out that lead us to the suspect and some lead us not to the suspect and we have to chase down every lead."
Police acknowledged that the home was not owned by Mann and sustained damaged in the raid.
Police did not name the suspect during the stand off but are now asking for the public's help locating Mann, who was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and should be considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone who knows Mann's whereabouts is asked to call Crimestoppers at 866-845-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous and