JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The I-TEAM has gathered more information about a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigation that ended with a man being shot by officers.
Detectives said Thursday they were conducting surveillance of a known drug dealer in a parking lot near North Main Street and Drury Lane. According to Chief Mark Romano, with the Sheriff’s Office, detectives “performed a block on the vehicle,” and the driver got out, attempting to flee on foot while carrying a knife.
That’s when, Romano said, officers gave commands for the man to drop the weapon. Romano said the man refused, turned toward the police officers and they fired, killing him.
Michael Morrison said he was there.
“I heard the tires squealing from the cops pulling up, then they were like, ‘drop the knife, drop the knife’ and they just shot him and that was pretty much it,” Morrison recalled.
Miranda Walsh, who lives in the area, was also at the scene.
“I saw the cops enter. The cops were screaming at them to get down. I know the other man had a knife. Officers were engaged. They ended up shooting the gentleman. They got the other man out of the white van and put him on the ground,” Walsh said.
As of publication of this article, the Sheriff’s Office still hadn’t released the identity of the man who was shot. A passenger in the vehicle, identified as Brian Brightman, 29, was arrested and charged with selling fentanyl, unlawful use of a two-way device and child abuse.
Investigators said an 8-year-old boy, who appears to be Brightman’s son, was found in the backseat of the vehicle.
Court filings revealed that in 2022, when the boy was 7 years old, he was with his father when his father and another man were pulled over by a state trooper and arrested on drug charges that would later be dropped. He has a long history of arrests and convictions for possessing and selling cocaine.
Records show in 2016, when Brightman was an inmate in the Duval County jail, he was convicted on drug conspiracy charges after investigators realized drugs were being smuggled into the jail. Investigators recorded phone conversations in which Brightman was reportedly heard telling a woman on the outside how another man could smuggle narcotics into the jail by hiding them in his shoes.
Neighbors said Brightman had been living in a nearby apartment since November, and they said they’d been suspicious after witnessing numerous people walking to and from his residence.
He remains in the Duval County jail without bond.