Deputies still looking for shooter in home invasion robbery

Investigators say robber may have ties to Jacksonville's Northside


VILANO BEACH, Fla. – Detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office are still trying to identify and find a man sought in a home invasion robbery last week in Vilano Beach in which a man was shot.

The shooting happened around 6:15 a.m. in the 500 block of 23rd Street North in Vilano Beach on Oct. 29.

The homeowner, Tommy "Buddy" Small (pictured below), was leaving for work when he was ambushed in his garage by a man with a bandana covering his face, according to deputies. They said Small was forced back inside the house, where the armed robber demanded money and ended up shooting Small in the leg.


The gunman left in Small's pickup truck, which was found abandoned about six blocks away, where investigators think he may have had a vehicle or someone waiting for him, deputies said.

Small was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The robber was described as a dark-skinned black man, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a thin build. At the time, he was wearing all black clothing and had his face covered.

Deputies said the man could have ties on the Northside of Jacksonville.

Anyone with information about the robbery and shooting is asked to call the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office at 904-209-3982 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS.