JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A manhunt was underway Wednesday in the Arlington area for two armed men suspected in a deadly shooting, police chase and home invasion, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
Police officers on foot, SWAT, a K-9 unit and the JSO helicopter were all spotted throughout the day, monitoring the area where the violent crime spree unfolded at three different scenes.
About 11 a.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office, a young man was shot multiple times and killed in the parking lot in front of a Baptist Primary Care office in a shopping center on Merrill Road at Townsend Boulevard.
Homicide detectives said at least seven shots were fired from a gray car, striking the man in his mid-20s who died at the scene. Police said at least one bullet hit one of the businesses, but no one inside was injured.
“I heard six gunshots,” said a witness, who wished to remain anonymous.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said it did not appear to be a random act of gun violence.
“This person was probably targeted," he said. “Patrons in this area, as well as the business owners, are very fortunate that nothing else happened.”
An off-duty officer, one of several people who witnessed the shooting, pursued the vehicle, which police said was reported stolen last year, until it crashed on Townsend Boulevard, several blocks south of the shopping center. Police said two men in their early 20s got out and took off. Surveillance video from a neighbor shows two men running and jumping over a fence near a child’s playset.
“First, I heard a high-speed chase. Then I told my husband, ‘Someone is outrunning the cops.’ Then I heard a very loud crash, so I looked outside the window and, at that time, the car had already had the collision into my neighbor’s tree and two black, short gentleman jumped out with gray hoodies,” another neighbor, Theresa Pocock, told News4Jax. “I saw the one running in my yard, toward my fence, and I said, ‘Oh, my God. I’m going to go secure my glass door,’ because a lot of times, we leave it open. And in the process, I saw him cross through my yard over another neighbor’s fence and continuing to run."
She added: “Extremely scary -- I mean, I’ve never had anything like this happen before.”
Just after 12:30 p.m., officers were called to a home invasion robbery on Townsend Road at Alderman Road, just south of where the stolen car was dumped.
“Two individuals went inside the home, changed clothes, held the homeowner hostage and then were picked up by a possible orange or red Dodge Challenger or Charger,” Sgt. Mike Silcox said.
Silcox said the victim was shaken up but not injured. The woman’s husband, who was not home at the time, told News4Jax that his wife was coming out of the bathroom and found the two men standing in her bedroom. He said she tried to get them to leave and even tried to run, but they held her down. The husband said he’s happy she’s alive.
The Sheriff’s Office tweeted around noon that people who live in the area of Carlotta Road should stay indoors as they searched for the two men.
Just before 3 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office released descriptions of the two men who police said are considered armed:
- Suspect 1: 5-foot, 5-inch tall black man with short hair with twists, tattoos on both arms wearing a gray T-shirt with “Perminti Brothers” on back, brown pants and white New Balance shoes
- Suspect 2: 5-foot, 5-inch tall black man wearing a black hoodie, white muscle shirt and black pajama pants with “Mountain Dew” on them.
The Sheriff’s Office announced about 3:30 p.m. that a shelter in place for residents in the area had been lifted, but the two men were still at large. Jefferson said everyone in the Arlington neighborhood and adjacent communities needs to be on high alert.
“You don’t want to push them. You don’t want to approach them. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Don’t try to be a hero," he said.
Anyone who recognizes the two men is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477). Police also asked residents and businesses with surveillance video to check the footage.
Within the last four weeks, according to a JSO crime map that was adjusted to display reported crimes within a one-mile radius of the shopping center, there were nearly 30 incidents investigated by police -- including 10 assault and battery cases, eight thefts, four burglaries, two armed burglaries, an armed robbery and multiple vandalism cases.