Robbery suspect shot by Orange Park officer

Police: Man held up check-cashing store, struck patrol cars, fired shots at officer


ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A 27-year-old Green Cove Springs man who police say held up a check-cashing store, then struck two police cruisers and fired at an officer while trying to get away was shot four times by an Orange Park police sergeant.

Authorities say no officers were injured in the exchange of gunfire. Jarvis Tyrone Lee was flown by air ambulance to UF Health Jacksonville.

Police say Lee covered his face and pulled a handgun inside at Checks Cashed at 644 Park Ave. just after 10 a.m.  The clerk triggered a silent alarm, and police said Sgt. Joel Grant spotted Lee's car on Plainfield Avenue and began to pursue him.

"He turned into Park Central Plaza, somewhere he hit a truck," Orange Park Police Chief Gary Goble said, saying that Lee fired shots during the pursuit. "The officers continued the pursuit. He came back out onto (U.S.) 17, headed northbound on 17, when he got to the final resting place is when he attempted to make another U-turn to go back southbound. He struck a patrol car there -- Sgt. Grant's car -- which spun him around, causing Sgt. Nelson to hit him head-on."

That's where Grant fired four shots, all four hitting Lee.  Police said Lee was in critical condition at UF Health.

"He was robbing there, shot at the officer, and that's when the chase started," a witness said. "It looks like they ran into them to stop him."

Traffic on Park Avenue (U.S. 17) was blocked in both directions until almost 4 p.m. while police gathered evidence.

"The incident happened in the middle of 17, three cars wide, so there was no way we could open it up and let people through until the evidence was collected," Goble said.

The last Orange Park police shooting was in April 2007. Grant has been with the OPPD since August 2005 and this is his first officer-involved shooting.

"There's not many people who strap on a gun and vest to go to work, so we know the dangers," Goble said. "We know what we may face and thankfully today we were ready for it."

The Clay County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are also investigating.

About the Authors: