82ºF

Sheriff: 5 in custody after shooting, pursuit in Fernandina

Deputies recover 2 guns after suspects captured

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Five men were taken into custody Friday evening after a shooting and a pursuit that stretched from Fernandina Beach to Yulee, authorities said.

One man was shot and another was badly beaten at a home on South 17th Street at about 5 p.m., according to the Fernandina Beach Police Department. A silver vehicle was seen fleeing the area. 

Sheriff Bill Leeper said deputies later spotted a vehicle matching that description heading west on State Road 200/A1A off the island near Chester Road. The vehicle then turned onto Gene Lassere, where it came to a dead end, he said.

Deputies captured four men who stayed with the vehicle and recovered two guns. Leeper said a fifth man fled into the woods, but he was located at about 6:20 p.m. with the help of K-9 units and a drone.

According to records, Spencer Spaulding Smart, 19, and Rossana Clark (no age given) were arrested in connection with the incident.

Smart faces an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge for allegedly driving a car toward deputies. Clark faces charges of resisting arrest without violence and fleeing a law enforcement officer after deputies said he ran into woods west of the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Mission church. 

The condition of the victims was not immediately clear.

Police said they're still investigating, but it appears an argument led to the shooting.

Neighbors told News4Jax that it was a family disturbance, saying there's a group of brothers who go in and out of the home near Fernandina Beach High School.

An aunt of one the men involved, who wished to remain anonymous, reached out to News4Jax, saying the incident was not a family disturbance. She claims that the incident was gang-related. She said a gang was jumping a man and his brother went to his aid. The brother who tried to help was the man who was shot, according to the aunt. 

The sheriff said the investigation is ongoing, so it's not yet known what charges the men will face.