JSO: 26-year-old facing more charges in Mayport crime spree

Lawrence Hall accused of kidnapping elderly veteran, leading police on chase

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Lawrence Hall
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Lawrence Hall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 26-year-old man accused of kidnapping an elderly veteran and leading officers on a high-speed chase that ended in a violent crash in East Arlington earlier this month is facing new charges.

The chase left two Jacksonville officers injured, and the 84-year-old kidnapping victim later died from injuries suffered in the crash.

After the crime spree, Lawrence Hall III was initially charged with fleeing a law enforcement officer and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Thursday that more charges had been added against Hall, including kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Hall, who had been hospitalized at Memorial Hospital since the Jan. 2 incident, has been booked into the Duval County Jail.

Hall is accused of robbing an internet cafe at gunpoint, abducting Louis Reese from his home to use his SUV as a getaway vehicle and striking two police officers -- one on foot and another in his cruiser -- before crashing into a concrete pole at Atlantic Boulevard and St. Johns Bluff Road.

Reese was critically injured in the crash, suffering broken ribs, a broken leg, a broken arm, a broken spine, a collapsed lung and a punctured lung. He succumbed to his injuries Jan. 8.

Hall had been released from prison Sept. 9 after a conviction for burglary and fleeing from police in a U-Haul truck in 2014. Hall pleaded guilty and served four years in prison.

In this month's violent crime spree, police said a man in his 20s who had a gun robbed the Lucky Charms Arcade, an internet cafe on Mayport Road, just after 2 p.m. While the robbery was happening, a person who was watching a live security camera feed of the business called 911, police said.

According to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Director of Investigations Ron Lendvay, the suspect, later identified as Hall, locked a patron in a restroom and had a clerk empty cash from different areas of the business and put the money in a backpack before running out the back door. 

Lendvay said Jacksonville officers -- along with officers from Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach and a helicopter and K-9 teams -- tracked Hall to a residential neighborhood a few blocks from the internet cafe, where he forced Reese into Reese's silver SUV, took off and a chase ensued.

According to JSO, Officer Josh Wiggins, 35, was struck by the stolen SUV while deploying stop sticks at Mayport Road and Wonderwood Drive, a few blocks north of the robbery scene. 

Minutes later, Officer Christopher Rouselle, 29, was injured at Kernan and Atlantic boulevards when his cruiser was struck as he tried to stop the stolen SUV, which reached speeds over 100 mph, police said.

A third officer performed a Pursuit Intervention Technique, or PIT, maneuver on the SUV on Atlantic Boulevard just before it reached St. Johns Bluff Road -- about 8 miles from where the initial crime occurred. The SUV spun around and slammed into a concrete power pole, splitting the pole in half. Power lines fell on the vehicle, causing a small fire, which officers put out with fire extinguishers before firefighters arrived.

Hall and Reese were pulled from the vehicle and transported to the hospital. 

Police said they recovered Hall's gun, the backpack and the cash stolen from Lucky Charms near where Reese was kidnapped.

Wiggins and Rouselle were also treated at Memorial Hospital.

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