JSO: Gunman robbed Publix, shot at officers

A Mandarin Publix robbed at gunpoint last night is now back open. The robbery happened at the Publix on Old St. Augustine Road off of 295.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 23-year-old man is charged with armed robbery, resisting police with violence and attempted murder after police said he stole more than $1,100 from the cash drawers of Publix cashiers Thursday night, then fired shots at a pursuing K9 officer and his handler.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Omar Plaisime threw down his gun but initially refused to surrender while fighting off Sabo, the police dog. He was taken into custody and treated for a bite wound to his arm.

Witnesses said the man entered the store on Old St. Augustine Road near I-295 about 9:40 p.m. wearing a mask and carrying a handgun and pointed it at employees and customers before running away with cash. Police said no one in the store was injured.

Police located the man a few blocks away and Sabo and its handler began chasing him. JSO said Plaisime turned around and fired a single shot in the direction of the officers. Neither was hit.

“That’s just crazy. You know, a bunch of crazy going on,” said Brian Thornton, who added he moved from Westside to Mandarin because “it’s, you know, more laid back.”

While that may be the reputation, the area has had its share of violent incidents recently. Three months ago there was a fatal stabbing at the McDonald’s by the Publix store. Last year, a man was shot and killed during a robbery at an apartment complex on Crown Point Road, about 2 miles north of where Thursday night’s incident occurred.

About the Authors:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.