ORANGE PARK, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating after a Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed an 18-year-old driver late Sunday night during a traffic stop on Blanding Boulevard in the Tanglewood area of Orange Park.
As the sun came up Monday, five bullet holes could be seen in the windshield of an SUV, which has since been towed away.
The Sheriff's Office said a deputy had pulled over the vehicle on Blanding near Knight Boxx Road about 11:30 p.m. Authorities said when the driver, later identified as Dylan Joseph Mark Cross, took out a weapon, a K-9 deputy who was called for backup opened fire.
The deputies were not injured during the shooting. K-9 Deputy Andy McCrea and Patrol Deputy William Whitman were placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation, which is protocol after deputy-involved shootings.
McCrea has been with the Sheriff's Office about 15 years and was also involved in a 2012 shooting where Detective David White was killed by suspect Ted Tilley. Tilley was then shot and killed when deputies, including McCrea, returned fire.
Clay County Public Information Officer Chris Padgett said they are concerned about the deputies' mental health.
"This is going to be a traumatic and trying time for them. We obviously can't speak on their behalf and after notification is made, we're obviously going to want to make sure that they're taken care of because this is something that no family wants to deal with at any time," Padgett said.
The Clay County crisis management team is working with the Sheriff's Office to get the assistance the deputies need.
Tanglewood neighborhood shaken
Cindy Sampsell, who lives across the street, heard two gunshots. She said she grabbed a golf club and stepped out on her porch to see what was going on.
"I knew he was sitting in the driver's side. All I could see was his leg was out of the car in the road, but the person never moved," Sampsell said. "Considering I've been here about 22 years at this property, it's been pretty safe around here. Needless to say, this came as a shock."
After Clay County's SWAT team shot and killed a suspect in a drug raid in the same neighborhood in 2017, residents told Sheriff Darryl Daniels there is a drug problem in the area. Last October, a 14-year-old was arrested after a shooting on Jefferson Street, and a fugitive wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service was arrested in the neighborhood earlier this month.
Clay County's crime mapping tool shows that in the last two months within a half-mile of Sunday's deputy-involved shooting there have been seven aggravated batteries, 32 thefts, 13 burglaries to businesses, one car theft and one case of arson.
Lisa Nichols has lived in the neighborhood for 13 years.
"It could be a very nice place to live in. It used to be," Nichols said. "Part of Tanglewood is awful, but part of Tanglewood is homes and regular people."
But Michael Jenkins has worked in the area for a long time and likes it.
"I think it’s a good area. No high crime or nothing like that," Jenkins said.