Man in wheelchair robbed at gunpoint in Jacksonville Beach

Victim says his life flashed in front of him during armed robbery on 7th Avenue

By Corley Peel - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - There's a neighborhood crime alert in Jacksonville Beach, where police said a man in a wheelchair was robbed at gunpoint early Monday morning while leaving a bar. 

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department said it's searching for three men who robbed the man near Seventh Avenue North and Third Street North. 

Rico Nieves told News4Jax that his life flashed before his eyes during the armed robbery.

"I've never really had a problem, never at all," Nieves said. "(I've) always felt pretty safe, never had to worry about anything out here."

Nieves said, every Sunday, he travels down Seventh Avenue North in his wheelchair to meet friends at a nearby bar. 

But this week was different. He said three men in a black truck stopped him on his way home about 2 a.m. Monday.

Nieves said one of the men got out, pointed a gun at him and demanded anything of value.

"First, I thought it might have been someone playing a prank until he put the gun to my head," Nieves said. "So I started reaching into my pocket and I'm just, like, just don't pull the trigger."

Nieves said the man hit him with the gun, knocking him out of his chair and into the street, and then took off with his wallet and cellphone. 

“You see your life flash in front of you. You don’t know if they’re going to kill you or what’s going to happen. I mean, it’s just a lot of things run through your mind," he said. "It’s, like, you can take everything, just don’t take my life.”

Nieves told police that the three black men were wearing all-black clothing and masks, and he believes they were traveling in a black Lincoln truck. 

He reported to police that the gunman was about 5 feet 11 inches tall with a slender build.

“If somebody knows anything about it, hopefully they’ll turn him in, you know, say something to the cops," Nieves said.

Police believe security cameras at a nearby business recorded the robbery. 

As police continue to investigate, Nieves said he doesn't plan on traveling down Seventh Avenue North alone.

"If I do, I'm going to wear protection," he said. "I'm going to definitely make sure that I carry something with me."

Nieves was not injured, but he said he hopes the men who robbed him are caught soon so they don't hurt anyone.

Jacksonville Beach police released surveillance video of a truck they believe was involved (see below).

Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department at 904-270-1667.

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