Jacksonville fire lieutenant accused of attempted carjacking

Police: Crime reported downtown St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A lieutenant with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department was arrested on charges of attempted carjacking without a firearm early Sunday, according to St. Augustine police.

John Lopez III, 37, was taken into custody after police said two employees of Prohibition Kitchen, a gastropub at 119 St. George St., detained him.

The bouncers said Lopez approached the driver's side door of a car and ordered Ellen Norris, 24, out of the vehicle several times, saying that he was "the authority." Then he pulled her out of the car and slammed her to the ground, according to the police report.

Lopez was tackled by the bouncers.

Norris, who said she did not know Lopez, said it didn't feel real.

"My fight instinct kicked in," Norris said. "I ran up and grabbed him by the neck and pulled him out of my car. When I did that, we fell, and he got on top of me and I guess grabbed ahold of my neck and that’s when the guys that were standing there the entire time, decided to pull him off and tackle him to the ground and call the cops.”

Lopez was taken to the St. Johns County Jail, where he was booked. He has since posted bail.

John Locke watched as the situation unfolded. So did Matthew Day, who said at first, he didn’t know if the two knew each other, or know why Lopez was screaming.

“We were kind of confused in the beginning, but once we saw him put his hands on her and forcefully try to hurt her, we had to hop to it,” Day said.

It took three people to hold Lopez down in the busy parking lot. In a matter of minutes, officers arrived.

Day said he hopes Lopez is held accountable for what happened.

“I hope he loses his job and I hope he's in jail for a while,” Day said. “It never should've happened. He should never have came out and (forced) a little female out of her car like that. Words can't describe that.”

Norris said she should have locked her doors and plans on doing so from here on out.

“It was almost surreal,” Norris said. “When I woke up this morning, I said, ‘That didn’t happen.’”