JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 21-year-old was found guilty Thursday of opening fire on an off-duty undercover detective and the detective's son during a traffic stop last year.
The detective, who remains undercover and is not being named or shown on camera, was hit multiple times but survived. His son was not injured.
Kevin Rojas, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, was convicted by a jury of one count of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, one count of attempted manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of grand theft auto and one count of fleeing or attempting to elude police.
A sentencing date has not been set yet, but Rojas will be back in court Nov. 27.
Prosecutors said the mandatory sentence for trying to kill a law enforcement officer is life in prison.
They said the detective is back at work.
Before giving the case to the jury Thursday, prosecutors held up two small cups holding the bullets that were pulled from the detective's head and abdomen.
The defense argued that because the detective's car was unmarked and he was not wearing a uniform, Rojas had no idea he was with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. But prosecutors countered that Rojas pulled over when the detective turned his lights on, so he seemed to understand he was law enforcement.
The detective testified he pulled Rojas over for driving erratically on the Westside on March 9, 2016.
Prosecutors described Rojas as small and skinny but said he was powerful because he had a gun he didn't hesitate to use.
“Fortunately, he didn’t die as a result of the shooting he was subject to,” Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said of the detective. “I think this sends a very loud message that we care about our police officers and that they’re valued and that we appreciate everything they do every day and risking their lives for the rest of us.”
On Wednesday, before both sides rested, the jury heard from the two JSO officers who arrested Rojas.
The officers described fearing for their lives because Rojas had a gun and he wouldn't listen to their commands to put the gun down.
One officer described Rojas being shot three times and finally falling to the ground, so that they were able to get him in handcuffs.
In the early morning hours of March 9, 2016, Rojas was pulled over by an off-duty undercover Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective on Collins Road for driving recklessly. The detective was in the process of driving his teenage son to school.
Immediately after being stopped, Rojas exited his vehicle and fired shots at the detective through the vehicle’s windshield, striking him once in the head, twice in abdomen, and once in the hand. The detective’s son was sitting in the passenger seat but was not struck by Rojas’ gunshots.
Despite being shot, the detective exited his vehicle and returned fire before Rojas fled. Nearby business workers came to the detective’s assistance shortly after the incident to provide medical attention until help arrived.
After fleeing, Rojas stole a truck. Law enforcement followed him into a nearby neighborhood, where he was apprehended.