Accused shooter of 2 sisters surrenders to police

Family of victims says Chad Absher was ex-boyfriend of Ashlee Rucker

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As a young woman recovers from critical gunshot wounds, the man who police say shot her and killed her sister surrendered during a standoff Wednesday afternoon, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Chad Absher, 32, who was wanted for the murder of Ashlee Rucker and the shooting of her sister, Lisa Rucker, was taken into custody at a Westside home, police said. He was booked into the Duval County jail around 2:30 a.m. Thursday and is expected to make first appearance later in the afternoon. 

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said officers and SWAT responded about 2:30 p.m. to the home on 118th Street near Blanding Boulevard after a caller reported that Absher was believed to be inside. 

Officers surveyed the area, confirmed Absher was in the home, and after some discussion, he eventually came out and was taken into custody, Bujeda said.

"It was a peaceful resolution on 118th Street," she said. 

The home where Absher was found belonged to an acquaintance, who told police he woke up Wednesday morning to find Absher inside, the Sheriff's Office said.

His whereabouts between the time of the shooting and Wednesday morning are unknown at this time, Bujeda said.

Absher was taken to the Police Memorial Building to be interviewed by detectives. 

Bujeda thanked the public for the "overwhelming" number of tips that came flooding in after the Sheriff's Office identified Absher as the man wanted in connection to the shootings and released his photo.

"We're glad the community came forward. They really stepped forward and called in those tips," Bujeda said.

Absher, who reportedly goes by the nickname “Tee,” fatally shot Ashlee, his ex-girlfriend, and critically injured Lisa inside their Hyde Park condo off San Juan Avenue around 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to police. The victims' uncle, Doug Freeman, said each had a young son in the home at the time of the shootings, but they were not hurt.

Lisa remains in the Intensive Care Unit at UF Health, but loved ones told News4Jax on Wednesday that she is improving and is now able to now keep her eyes open and write. She's expected to make a full recovery, family members said.

Despite the positive turn, friends and family remained concerned most of the day Wednesday because Absher had not yet been found. Most were too afraid to speak to the media, saying they wouldn't feel safe to talk until he was captured.

Absher was arrested in 2006 for stalking a previous ex-girlfriend. He pleaded guilty and served three years in prison. That woman and another woman with the same last name both obtained domestic violence injunctions against him last month.

Later Wednesday evening, the father of Lisa's son, Kevin Labarron, visited her at UF Health. He told News4Jax it's a relief knowing that Absher has been taken into custody.

"He shouldn't have been on the streets for any reason," Labarron said. "There's been multiple calls on him -- domestic violence, domestic battery, convicted felon with a firearm -- and nothing's ever happened."

Labarron said his own son saw the deadly shooting.

"It's taken a toll because he's not the same kid he was a couple of days ago," he said.

Ashlee's family said she was recently in an abusive relationship with Absher, and they begged her to end it.

After they broke up, family said, Ashlee and her son moved into their own apartment six months ago, but Absher knew where they were living. 

Gail Patin -- CEO of Hubbard House, a local women's shelter -- said one out of every four women will be abused in their lifetime. 

Patin said getting help is as easy as placing a phone call. She said callers can remain anonymous and simply talk about their situation and decide if it's necessary to leave.

"We have safety plan with how to leave that relationship and the safest way possible because, for some people, if they're terminating that relationship, staying in the home is not safe or going to a friend or family members is not safe if the abuser knows where they are," Patin said. "So we can talk to them about the option of coming into shelter or explore with them other options where the abuser might not know where somebody lives so they can go stay with them."

The number for Hubbard House's 24-hour hotline is 1-800-500-1119.

Hubbard House said if someone feels like one of their loved ones is being abused, the key is to never give up, and always let their loved one know that they're supported and have someone on their side.

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