NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A man was shot and killed Friday afternoon by an officer with the Fernandina Beach Police Department during a drug bust outside Casey Liquors on U.S. 17, according to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.
According to Leeper, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office narcotics task force, which includes deputies from the Fernandina Beach Police Department, responded to the scene around 2 p.m. Leeper said the Georgia man, who was not identified by authorities, had been selling heroin and methamphetamine in Nassau County.
Later, family identified the man as 44-year-old Jarvis Sullivan of Camden County.
“There’s enough stuff going in America right now. We have enough on our plate. And to hear about this, another black man being shot by police, whether it was race-related or anything, it gives us that cringe again like here we go again,” said cousin Mack Knight.
The Sheriff’s Office said when the task force tried to arrest the man, he attempted to flee the scene in his vehicle, striking multiple vehicles in the parking lot and a mobile home that was parked behind the store. Leeper said officers gave commands for the man to stop the vehicle when he then put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated toward one of the task force members -- who is an officer with the Police Department.
Leeper said the officer fired his weapon, striking the man and killing him. The officer, who was not named, will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. No officers were injured.
Knight said he came to the scene of the incident after seeing earlier reports about the shooting on the news. By the time he got there, he had to console Sullivan’s mother who was having a difficult time learning about what happened.
“I was totally shocked," Knight said. "I saw it on the news earlier and it came across my Facebook feed and I was just praying for the individual involved, now knowing that was a family member.”
Hours after a member of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics task force shot and killed Sullivan, FDLE agents were still on scene collecting and processing evidence.
The Sheriff noted that Sullivan was a three-time convicted felon, but he didn’t give details about the felonies. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Sullivan spent one year in jail on drug charges.
“It really doesn’t seem like the Jarvis I know. But you know people grow up," Knight said. "We were close coming up. But when you grow up, you take different paths and walks in life. But I still want to know all the details in what actually happened.”
Leeper said the Sheriff’s Office was waiting to notify next of kin before releasing the man’s name.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is leading the investigation.
News4Jax Crime and Safety expert Ken Jefferson said based on the preliminary information released by the investigators, the shooting by the officer was justifiable.