JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Body camera footage was released Thursday by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office showing the events leading to police firing shots at an 18-year-old during a traffic stop on the Westside.
The 18-year-old who died was identified by a family member as Devon Tilman Gregory. The shooting occurred Tuesday at about 10:40 p.m. near the intersection of San Juan and Cassat avenues.
The Sheriff’s Office in a statement said:
(Body camera footage from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office follows. Viewer discretion advised. Note: The time stamp on the body camera footage appears to be incorrect. The shooting was reported on Tuesday night.)
The Medical Examiner’s Office did not state if the self-inflicted gunshot wound was the cause of death.
The beginning of the video shows three people inside the car. An officer approaches from the driver’s side.
Officer 1: “Do you have any marijuana in the car? Any hemp in the car? You were smoking a little bit ago or something?”
The responses from the three inside the car weren’t audible.
Officer 1: “Is there anything in the car we need to worry about? You guys mind if we check it out real quick and get you on your way?”
The officer explains that because he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the interior, he had probable cause to perform a search. The driver of the car gets out and is handcuffed while the two others -- including Gregory -- remain in the car.
A second officer looks into the car and sees Gregory, who appears to be smoking something, begin to reach under the seat.
“Hey, don’t reach under there,” the second officer yells. “Stop f****** reaching!”
“I’m reaching for my phone,” Gregory says while staring at the officer with a hand still under the seat.
The officers at the scene all begin yelling for Gregory to show his hands, one yelling, “You are about to get f****** shot!”
Repeatedly, Gregory asks to “please” grab his phone. He then begins yelling to the man who was taken into the cruiser: “I love you, bro! I love you! Tell my mama I love her too!”
As Gregory continues to yell, he appears to have a cellphone held to his left ear. Officers with their guns drawn repeatedly say, “relax.”
Officer 2: “Relax, man. Hey, relax. Pull your hand from under the seat.”
As the exchange continues for a couple of minutes, the situation escalates.
“Shoot me!” Gregory begins yelling repeatedly -- at least a dozen times. “F****** kill me!”
Officer 2: “Listen to me. I promise you if you raise your hand with nothing in it, you will not get hurt.”
“These officers are pleading with this young man,” explained News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson. “He was refusing to cooperate. He has his hand, his right hand underneath the seat.”
After several more minutes of back-and-forth, an officer approaches the car with a K-9. The young man in the back seat of the car is removed.
“Leave me! Leave me!” Gregory yells.
The video then shows Gregory put his head down between his legs. A gunshot is fired within the car, and Gregory’s head is thrown back. The officers then fire several times at the car.
“Right before the officers start shooting, He’s leaning down, his head is down and his head went up abruptly,” explained Jefferson, while examining the video. “ If he’s shot in the back, his head isn’t going to go back like that. So that leaves me to believe the medical examiner’s report that it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters initially said in a statement Tuesday that officers pulled the car over for failing to maintain a single lane.
Waters said officers tried to deescalate the situation. He said after several minutes of trying to talk with the passenger who refused to comply with demands to get out of the car, four officers fired shots.
The officers, the driver and the backseat passenger were not hurt in the shooting.