2 officers injured in chase of carjacker awarded Purple Hearts

Sgt. Josh Wiggins and Officer Christopher Rouselle awarded Purple Hearts at September 2019 meritorious awards ceremony.

A police sergeant and patrol officer were awarded Purple Heart medals Thursday at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office's monthly awards ceremony.

Officers Christopher Rouselle, 29, and Josh Wiggins, 35, were injured Jan. 2 when they were struck by a stolen vehicle driven by a man suspected of fleeing an armed robbery at a Mayport Road adult arcade.

The robbery suspect had carjacked an 84-year-old man, who was also injured when an 8-mile pursuit ended in a crash on Atlantic Boulevard near St. Johns Bluff Road.

Police said an armed man in his 20s robbed the Lucky Charms Arcade. The robber 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. ​​​​​​

Jacksonville,  Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach police, joined by a JSO helicopter and K-9 teams, tracked the suspect to a residential neighborhood nearby, where police said he forced a man into the man's silver SUV, took off and a chase ensued.

According to police, an officer assisting in the pursuit was injured when he was hit by the suspect's vehicle while deploying stop sticks at Mayport Road at Wonderwood Drive.

Minutes later, a second officer was injured at Kernan and Atlantic boulevards when his cruiser was struck as he tried to stop the stolen SUV, which had reached speeds of 100 mph, police said.

A third officer performed a 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 carjacking victim, Louis Reese, was critically injured and died a week later.

Lawrence Hall, 26, was arrested in July in connection with the crime spree. He was charged with multiple counts, including attempted murder and kidnapping.

According to police, Rouselle has been with the agency for two years while Wiggins has spent 12 years at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Wiggins has since been promoted to sergeant.

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