Bodycam: Jacksonville officer shoots suspect wielding butcher knife

State Attorney’s Office ruled February 2020 shooting justified by JSO

Prior DOC booking photo of John Ritter next to scene of shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has released body camera footage from a February 2020 shooting involving a man who was shot by a police officer after investigators said he threatened the officer with a butcher knife.

John Robert Ritter, 39, was shot after police said he tried to rob a store on Trout River Boulevard. Investigators said there was a foot chase with police and that a stun gun was deployed but was not successful in immobilizing the suspect. Investigators said Officer T. Davis fired one shot and that Ritter was transported to the hospital in stable condition.

The State Attorney’s Office ruled the actions of the Jacksonville officer justified on Feb. 1 of this year.

(Viewer discretion advised. Body camera video is below. Some may find the footage graphic.)

The body-worn camera footage shows an officer chase after Ritter outside the grocery store and follow him toward a wooded area. The officer tells Ritter repeatedly to put down the knife. It shows him deploy his Taser, which, as police reported, is not successful. Ritter appears to use a T-shirt to avoid being stunned.

“Put down the knife. Put down the knife,” the officer says.

“You better shoot me. You better shoot me,” Ritter replies.

The officer again tells the man to put down the knife, and Ritter again says, “shoot me.”

One shot is fired from the officer’s gun, striking Ritter, as the Sheriff’s Office originally reported. Backup arrived at the scene, and Ritter is seen being handcuffed, which is JSO policy. One unit provides aid to Ritter.

In addition to the release of the bodycam, JSO also released a video in which another officer explains the actions taken by the officer in the bodycam video.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Ritter recovered and was convicted of burglary and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Court records confirm he received a sentence of 10 years in prison.

Notably, the Department of Corrections records show Ritter was incarcerated Jan. 7 and died later that month on Jan. 27, according to its online database. News4Jax has requested comment from the DOC.

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.

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