JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man shot Wednesday morning after police say he broke into a home on Jacksonville's Westside is the son of a female Jacksonville police officer, News4Jax has learned.
Xavier Houston, 24, was shot and killed at a home on Park Street after he and another man broke into the home and the resident, who was alerted by the alarm company, returned to the house and confronted them, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Police said that for now, they are treating the shooting as a justifiable homicide.
News4Jax found a lengthy criminal history for Houston, including arrests for burglary, aggravated battery, stalking, cyber-stalking and four arrests for domestic battery.
Houston's grandmother, who asked not to be named, said Houston was a "good boy" when he was growing up.
"Came up in a nice home and everything," she said. "Only thing I heard is a man shot him. Don’t know anything about (where) he was or anything. So I can’t give you no info."
Houston's mother is JSO Officer Lynette Bryant, sources told News4Jax.
News4Jax crime analyst Gil Smith said the case shows that police officers' private lives are not immune to tragedy.
“Sometimes, people think that you’re the son or daughter of a police officer and you’re walking the straight and narrow all the time -- or a judge, or a teacher,” Smith said. “That’s not the case. They’re regular folks, just like anyone else.”
A friend of Houston said he was trying to turn his life around.
“That ain’t his M.O. That’s just someone he was with,” said the friend, who asked not to be identified. “That’s just the law of the land I guess, being around people that over-influence you to do something you don’t want to do.”
Break-in turns deadly
JSO Sgt. Steve Rudlaff said police and the resident were called about 11:42 a.m. Wednesday by the alarm company about a break-in at the home, which is between Lake Shore Boulevard and Lane Avenue.
The resident made it to the house before police arrived, went inside and confronted two men, shooting one of them, Rudlaff said.
The man who was shot, later identified as Houston, died inside a silver four-door car in the home's carport. It's unclear if Houston was shot inside the home and made it to the car before he died, or if he was shot in the car, police said.
The second intruder ran from the home, and officers and the JSO helicopter were called in to search for him, but he has not been found yet, police said. He is described as a black man in his 20s, wearing a blue hoodie, dark clothing and gloves.
Rudlaff said the silver car in the carport did not belong to the homeowner, but the tag had been removed, so investigators were working to track down the car's owner.
It's unclear if the intruders were armed at the time. So far, no charges have been filed against the man who lives at the home.
Police asked for anyone with information about where that man might be to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
Nearly 2 dozen neighborhood homes burglarized since Oct. 1
There have been nearly two dozen burglary cases in the Westside neighborhood since just the beginning of the month, JSO crime data shows.
Marlow Shultz is one of nine Westside property owners whose home was broken into Oct. 5 and Oct. 6.
“It’s upsetting to know a stranger was in my house, and also a little scary," Shultz said. "I was off that day and could have walked in on a couple of burglars.”
Thursday's deadly encounter happened 1 mile from Shultz’s home.
According to the JSO crime-mapping tool, 21 homes within 2 miles of the Park Street scene have been burglarized since Oct. 1.
On Thursday, News4Jax asked Sheriff Mike Williams if his detectives began looking into whether the cases are related.
“If we have two incidents in an area that are similar, the zone commanders immediately look into that, looking at the factors, 'Are these the same? Could these be the same people?'" Williams said.
In the meantime, Shultz said, she and many of her neighbors have discussed installing home security systems. She said they have also talked about having guns close by.
“Someone comes in my house who is not welcomed, it’s going to be an issue," Shultz said.
A JSO public information officer said it’s too early to tell if the burglaries are all connected because not all the break-ins were similar.