BALDWIN, Fla. – Jacksonville police said a man who shot two people — one fatally — early Thursday morning at a truck stop in Baldwin was shot by police after driving a big rig east a short distance on Interstate 10.
Patrol officers who responded to the shooting at the Pilot Truck Stop on U.S. 301 just off the interstate found the two shooting victims. A witness described the big rig the shooter drove away in and the officers found it stopped on the side of the highway near Yellow Water Road.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters said that as three officers approached, gunfire came from the cab of the vehicle, missing the officers but striking one of their police cars. All three officers returned fire, injuring the driver, who was transported to a hospital with critical injuries. His name was not immediately released.
Why the big rig had stopped was uncertain, but it might have been disabled remotely.
“I was on my way to work going towards Baldwin and came to a complete stop and I sat there for over an hour not really moving much and I just seen two helicopters flying around, not really knowing what’s going on," witness Amber Cates told News4Jax. "I was very nervous, scared. Didn’t know what was going on. If the shooter was loose or what was going on.”
Video of shootout on I-10 in Baldwin where sources say 3 people were shot, including suspect. At least 1 person is dead. Warning: dramatic viewer video. We have live coverage on ground and in air on @wjxt4 right now. pic.twitter.com/2cYeOjnjTO— Vic Micolucci WJXT (@WJXTvic) December 19, 2019
Both U.S. 301 and I-10 were closed right after the shootings. U.S. 301 reopened after a medical helicopter the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue said transported the surviving patient from the truck stop scene. Westbound I-10 reopened about 9:45 a.m. but eastbound lanes remained closed until just after 5 p.m.
The Florida Department of Transportation said the roadway was damaged by a fuel spill from the semi and repairs would begin as soon as the JSO completes its investigation. Eastbound traffic was detoured onto State Road 121 at Macclenny.
The Pilot Travel Center was closed most of the day, but other businesses in that area remained open, although traffic was slow in the area most of the morning.
News4Jax was told the shooting suspect was driving a rig owned by a Rinaudo Enterprises, a Jacksonville trucking company, where one employee called the shootings “tragic," but wouldn’t say more.
Waters identified the officers involved as Sgt J. Dowling (6 years with JSO), Officer S. Hackney (2 years on force), and K-9 Officer RC Winfrey (3 years). He said it was the first police-involved shooting for all three. He also said all three were wearing body cameras.