86ºF

Police: Jacksonville officer shoots suspect wielding butcher knife

John Ritter, 39, taken to hospital for treatment

Prior DOC booking photo of John Ritter next to scene of Saturday's shooting
Prior DOC booking photo of John Ritter next to scene of Saturday's shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A police officer who was responding to a call for service Saturday shot a man who was wielding a large butcher knife, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Police were called to the scene just after 9 a.m. along Lem Turner Road near the Trout River.

Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters said officers were first called to the area in reference to a burglary, but it was later discovered to be an attempted armed robbery. Waters said when officers approached the suspect, the man, who was holding a butcher knife, ran off and officers gave chase.

According to Waters, officers caught up to the man, who stopped and turned toward an officer. He said the officer gave loud commands for the man to drop the knife.

Photo of the knife that police say John Ritter possessed.
Photo of the knife that police say John Ritter possessed. (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

Waters said the man refused to drop the knife and that the officer attempted to use his Taser. He said the officer was unsuccessful and that the officer then fired one shot, striking the man.

A witness, who asked not to be identified, described the scene.

“The police came and they started chasing him and he went around the side of the building. The next thing we heard was a sound like a gunshot,” the witness said.

Police identified the man as John Ritter, 39, who is charged with one count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of burglary. Waters said he was taken to a hospital for treatment and was said to be in stable condition.

Waters identified the officer who fired the shot as Officer T. Davis. According to Christian Hancock, the public information officer, Davis has been with JSO for 11 years and this was his first officer-involved incident.

Davis was not injured, Waters said. He was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The State Attorney’s Office is conducting an investigation.

Records from the Department of Corrections show Ritter served time behind bars for burglary with assault, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, criminal mischief and trafficking in stolen property. Police records show arrests dating back to 2003.


About the Authors: