Jacksonville police: Young man sought in Westside pool hall shooting

Victim shot while trying to stop purse-snatching in late October, JSO says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police on Monday released photos of a young man believed to be connected to a late October shooting at the Westside pool hall, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

A 27-year-old man was hospitalized after he was shot about 9:45 p.m. Oct. 29 while trying to stop a purse-snatching at Westside Pool on 103rd Street near Ricker Road, police said.

According to the incident report, the shooter and another man were watching a woman play pool, and the shooter asked her for a cigarette and then grabbed her purse.

That's when police said the 27-year-old customer wrestled the man to the floor, and the man pulled out a handgun and shot the customer three times in the hip. The other man kicked the customer in the head and both ran out of the pool hall, police said.

Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst, said the patron who was shot took a big risk by intervening. 

"Obviously, this is a very dangerous person. He came there planning to commit a crime. That's why he had a firearm on him," Smith said. "Whenever someone is committing a crime, it's best not to intervene, not knowing what this person has on them."

The owner of Westside Pool told News4Jax off-camera that the day before the shooting, the person in the photos released by police was kicked out of the establishment because he was trying to purchase alcohol without an ID. Smith said he's likely younger than 21.

"This is a young person," Smith said. "You should be able to identify with this photograph. If he came there before, he must have known or observed people were there spending money."

If anyone encounters the person in the photos, Smith said, the best thing to do is call police and not try to confront him.

"This person is armed and dangerous," he said. "You don't want to try and stop him on your own."

According to the JSO crime-mapping tool, 36 crimes -- including 11 assaults, five vehicle break-ins, three burglaries and two robberies -- have been reported within a half-mile of the Westside Pool Hall since the beginning of October.

Anyone who recognizes the man seen in the photos is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000, contact Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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