NYPD officer at center of Jacksonville man's arrest still alive

Department spokesperson: 'Misreading' of charges to blame for confusion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A New York Police Department officer whose 1999 shooting led to the arrest Friday of a man in Jacksonville did not die of his injuries, a department spokesperson has confirmed.

Contrary to previous reports, Officer Vincent Ling is alive and well and has since retired from the force, NYPD Sgt. Jessica McRorie wrote in a statement emailed to News4Jax on Monday.

McRorie said a misreading of the attempted murder charge on the arrest warrant for 43-year-old Lester Pearson, the man suspected in Ling’s shooting, is to blame for the confusion about his death.

Adding to the confusion was a tweet Sunday from NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill, who thanked the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Marshals for capturing Pearson.

“Thanks to (the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) & (U.S. Marshals) for capturing the career criminal who killed off-duty #NYPD Officer Vincent Ling in 1999,” O’Neill wrote. The tweet was still up Monday.

Lester was taken into custody without incident Friday morning on Jacksonville’s Northside, where investigators contend he’s been living under the alias “Michael Davis” for years since the shooting.

U.S. Marshals converged on Pearson’s Broad Creek Lane home in unmarked vehicles about 8:45 a.m. Friday. Minutes later, several marshals were seen escorting Pearson down the driveway.

Duval County jail records show Pearson is currently in custody, where he has two active holds for out-of-state charges. He’s also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. 

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