JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A gun stolen from a car in Riverside last month was entered into evidence in the murder of an active-duty U.S. Coast Guard member in the same neighborhood, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office report.
News4Jax obtained the report on the Ruger .380 that was stolen July 22 from an unlocked car in Riverside and that JSO now has in its possession.
The owner of the gun told News4Jax off-camera that he reported it stolen right away. According to the incident report, JSO contacted the gun’s owner, who told them the serial number. The report shows JSO asked if he had any spent shell casings, and he said he did not but told police he’d fired the gun in the backyard of his home and a family member’s home. The report said JSO went to both locations with a metal detector but didn’t find any spent shell casings.
“Shell casings prove what kind of projectile was in it,” said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson. “Technology has evolved to the point where they’ll know what type of weapon it came from just with the shell casings.”
On Aug. 9, according to the report, JSO obtained a search warrant for a house on Spencer Street and recovered a gun with the same serial number that the gun owner gave to police. It’s unclear what led investigators to that house.
The home is less than a mile from where Caroline Schollaert was killed Aug. 3. News4Jax on Wednesday went to the house, where the people inside denied knowing anything about the weapon.
The incident report shows the gun was entered into evidence in the murder of Schollaert, who served in the Coast Guard for eight years and was assigned to the HITRON unit in Jacksonville -- a specialized helicopter squadron dedicated to drug interdictions.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 3, according to JSO, Schollaert called police to report her vehicle was being burglarized outside her home on Myra Street in Riverside. The Sheriff’s Office 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, police said.
Police said Schollaert, 27, died from her injuries.
Exactly one week later, Tyree Parker turned himself in to police. Parker, 22, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Schollaert’s death.
As of Wednesday, he remained in the Duval County jail without bond.
On Aug. 10, when the Sheriff’s Office announced Parker’s arrest, it said that the gun used in the shooting was stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the same neighborhood before the murder.
Jefferson encourages people to never leave their guns in their cars.