JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two officers answering a 911 call late Friday night about three women hiding from a man firing shots in a Westside home were shot and injured as they entered the house. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said the officers are recovering and the gunman is dead.
Williams said the shooting happened during an "alcohol fueled domestic situation."
Police said officers at the house on Seaboard Avenue near Timuquana Road responded about 10:50 p.m. and heard gunfire. They entered the home to rescue the women and were immediately shot, one in the stomach and the other in both hands.
They returned fire and killed a man firing a semi-automatic rifle, Williams said. The gunman was taken to Orange Park Medical Center, where he died. Just before the shooting, the gunman threatened to kill himself and his family.
The backup officers entered the house, secured the scene and got the women and a 19-month-old child found in another part of the residence out of the home.
Officer Michael Fox, an 11-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was shot in both hands. He was in surgery Saturday morning and said to be in stable condition.
Officer Kevin Jarrell, a five-year veteran, was shot in the stomach. He is also in serious but stable condition -- an upgrade from critical earlier in the morning -- and was able to meet with the sheriff at UF Health Jacksonville.
"We ask the community to keep them in their prayers," Williams said.
The Sheriff's Office identified the gunman as Derrick Brabham, 25, who had no criminal history in Duval County. The Sheriff's Office said it appears that the rifle used was purchased legally.
"You never know who you're going to live beside," said Shawn Blatzer, who lives a few houses away. "You never know if you're gonna be neighbors with and I guess we see now what can happen
Williams identified the others in the home as Brabham's girlfriend, her mother, a friend and Brabham's child.
Brabham's stepmother told News4Jax that he had moved out and was living with his girlfriend for a while.
Police said the first officers were hit by gunfire as soon as they entered the front door and were able to return fire.
"We heard a boom then another boom, boom, boom. They were like, 'Oh God, call 911,'” neighbor Allyson Bobble told News4Jax.
"We often talk about the inherent dangers of police work. Tonight, those dangers were all too real for these officers," JSO Director Bruno said. "As the officers approached the house, they knew it was a rifle that this individual was shooting and they knew that they were staring danger in the face and yet they moved forward to meet their commitment they held and that they swore to take to protect this community."
Fox had been involved in one previous shooting incident. It was the first shooting incident for Jarrell. Like all police-involved shootings, this will be investigated by the state attorney's office and internally by the JSO.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith, retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, knows what the officers were going through as they arrived at a home knowing a gunman was inside.
"That's the extremely dangerous part of police work is the unknown you just don't know what the person is going to do," Smith said. " That's why training is so important being prepared to handle all situations and on top of that the officers having the courage to approach a house where you know you can't see the person but they can see you. Knowing they may shoot at you and still to continue to approach the house knowing that your life is on the line; I mean, that is the bravest thing a police officer can do."
According to News4Jax records, 11 JSO officers have been shot since 2007. Just last month, JSO K-9 Officer Jeremy Mason was shot in the chin by bank robbery suspect Michael Harris.
In Northeast Florida, the most recent officer shot and killed in the line of duty was Clay County Sheriff's Detective David White in 2012.
Just south of Orlando, two police officers were also shot and killed in the line of duty Friday night, Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said.
"This horrific violence against law enforcement will not be tolerated, and as attorney general, I will continue to ensure those who commit violence against our law enforcement officers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement.
"The violence against the brave men and women who protect our communities that occurred last night in proud communities in Florida and Pennsylvania cannot be accepted," said Steve Zona, president of the Fraternal Order of Police. "There are serious challenges that must be overcome by hard working and well-meaning men and women due to the divisive rhetoric by those who stand behind the protection they provide. We need leaders willing to work towards changing the conversation and focus on improving the environments that breed this acceptance of violent behavior."