JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man was arrested in connection with the killing of an active-duty U.S. Coast Guard member last week in the city’s Riverside neighborhood, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
Tyree Parker, 22, is charged with second-degree murder.
JSO Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters said that in the early morning hours of Aug. 3, Caroline Schollaert called police to report her vehicle was being burglarized outside her Myra Street home. Waters said that as she was on the phone with dispatchers, she confronted the suspected car burglar, holding him at gunpoint and ordering him to remain there until police arrived. He did not comply and fired a handgun several times, striking Schollaert, Waters said.
Schollaert, 27, died from her injuries.
“So what was originally a crime of opportunity, in the burglary of a vehicle, escalated in seconds, resulted in the violent killing of a woman who dedicated her life to serving her country as a petty officer in the United States Coast Guard,” Waters said.
Following a weeklong search, which involved surveillance footage being released to the public and a $20,000 reward being offered for information in the case, an arrest warrant was issued Monday evening. Waters said Parker turned himself in about midnight.
“The pressure from the community helped keep the intensity and focus on the suspect,” Waters said. “Our homicide team has worked nonstop since this senseless murder took place, followed up on every lead and the mounting evidence.”
Parker is being held in the Duval County jail without bond. His arraignment is set for Sept. 1.
Waters said the firearm used in the shooting was stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the same neighborhood 11 days prior to the incident.
“It’s definitely shocking when something happens so close,” said neighbor Austin Reinhard. “It was scary.”
Schollaert served in the Coast Guard for eight years. She was assigned to the HITRON unit in Jacksonville -- a specialized helicopter squadron dedicated to drug interdictions. She was also known as a loving daughter, fiancee and friend to many.
Her father was confident an arrest would be made, saying investigators had the evidence.
Neighbors told News4Jax they’re thankful and relieved an arrest was made.
“Maybe it will be a little ease on her family to come here, to take their daughter back home,” said neighbor Kenneth Reed.
Reed said he prayed with her family Tuesday night for justice.
“I said, ‘God gonna take care of you. Don’t worry,’” Reed said. “Something gonna give before her parents leave, and look, God sent the answer.”
The arrest in Schollaert’s death came on the same day a memorial was held at Cecil Airport, with more than 100 Coast Guard members remembering Schollaert’s life. They gathered before an honor guard escorted her body back home to where she’s from near Richmond, Virginia. When her hearse arrived there, it was accompanied by a motorcade as dozens of people lined the streets, waving American flags.