71ºF

Police, homeowner exchange gunfire with burglar

Brentwood Elementary on Code Red while police searched for 2nd suspect

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville police is expected to release new details, Friday morning, about a shootout between police, two burglary suspects and a father.

Neighbors are calling that man a hero, after he rushed home to help his teenage sons, who said two men broke into their house.

Release of students at Brentwood Elementary School was delayed Thursday afternoon while police and a homeowner exchanged gunfire with a burglary suspect at a home not far from the school.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, one of two burglars was shot, but it wasn't clear whose bullet struck him.

JSO Director Tom Hackney said two teenagers were in a home on West 30th Street around 2 p.m. when a couple of men somehow broke into the home. The teenagers called their father, who works nearby. Police responded to a burglary-in-progress call, arriving at the same time as the father.

Officer Matthew Kreuger saw one of the men climbing out the window, pulled his Taser and ordered the person to surrender. About that time, shots were fired at the officer, who pulled his gun and fired back. The second man appeared and more gunfire was exchanged.

When the officers came around the front of the house, the homeowner was holding one man at gunpoint, and he had a gunshot wound in the shoulder. He was taken UF Health Jacksonville with non-life-threatening injuries.

Hackney said the homeowner had also fired his gun, so it wasn't clear who shot the first man. The second burglar escaped, which prompted the lockdown of the school, less than two blocks away.

Neighbors are calling that homeowner a hero after he rushed home when his teenage sons called him saying the two men were breaking into the house. A break-in happened at the same house on Wednesday.

"To me, in my books, he's a hero, and if it would happen to me I would do the same thing, too," said neighbor Ulysses Carpio. "He asked me, 'Did you see anything?' And I said, 'No, what's going on?' He said that somebody robbed his house, so I was shocked."

Parents who showed up to get their children were shocked to be met by school district police carrying rifles.

"Anytime you hear gunfire around a school, you go into panic mode," said Rasool Kamma, the father of a first-grader at Brentwood.

photo

Pre-K students were released first. The rest of the students were held until 4 p.m., then directed away from the area cordoned off by police.

Students told News4Jax they were told by their teacher to get under the desks, but not told why.

Police said when the home was burglarized Wednesday, guns were stolen. It's not known if the two men attempting to burglarize the home Thursday were connected to the first crime Wednesday.

Larry Gillis said in 33 years he has never had a problem with crime in his neighborhood.

"It was about four or five shots," Gillis said. "It sounded pretty loud because I was across the way, especially on the other side."

News4Jax spoke to Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith about what people should do if they are ever in a similar situation.

"When they saw suspicious people outside the residence, the first thing to do is call 911. Call police, then they should call their father. But it worked out in this case because they both did arrive home," Smith said.

News4Jax also took a look at the crime in the neighborhood. According to the JSO Crime Mapping Program-- in the last two weeks, within a half mile radius, the neighborhood has had 19 crimes. This includes burglaries, assaults, motor vehicle thefts, and larceny.

Police said the officer who fired his weapon was placed on administrative leave -- standard practice after a police-involved shooting.

"He did what he needed to do to protect himself and the other people in the neighborhood," Hackney said.

Hackney said there would be a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday to provide the name of the man captured and other details of the incident.

Police ask anyone who has any knowledge of the whereabouts of the second suspect to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.