JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused in the shooting death of his son, former University of Central Florida and University Christian football star Otis Anderson Jr., told detectives he had the right to defend himself on Monday when an argument over his son’s girlfriend’s dog led to an altercation at his home, according to court records.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, officers were dispatched Monday evening to the residence in the Forest Trails area on Jacksonville’s Northside where they found Anderson Jr. suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. Investigators said a second person — identified as Anderson Jr.’s mother, Denise Anderson — was suffering from multiple graze wounds and was hospitalized.
Anderson Jr., 23, died at the scene. Police said his mother was later discharged from the hospital.
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According to the Sheriff’s Office, Denise Anderson told police that her husband, Otis Anderson Sr., was bitten by their son’s girlfriend’s dog. She said that it made Anderson Sr., who was bleeding throughout the house, upset and that when their son, Anderson Jr., came downstairs to see what happened, an argument started.
Denise Anderson told police that Anderson Jr. was told to go back upstairs and that she and Anderson Sr. continued an argument. She said her husband flipped the downstairs recliner, which led to her son coming back downstairs.
According to a less reacted arrest report for Anderson Sr. that News4Jax found Wednesday in Duval County court records, Denise Anderson told investigators that her son and husband got into another argument and looked as though they were going to fight. The report said the “pushing match” was broken up and then Anderson Sr. went into the garage to get a handgun before Anderson Jr. and Anderson Sr. met back inside the kitchen.
According to that report, Denise Anderson heard a “pow” and her son say, “you shot me.” She said she picked up a Swiffer and started hitting her Anderson Sr. with it, not realizing she had been grazed herself, the report states.
When he was questioned by JSO downtown, according to the report, Anderson Sr. said his son “charged at him” and he had no recollection of getting into a physical altercation. The report states he also said he had no recollection of shooting at his wife and claimed she must have gotten in between him and their son. He told detectives that Anderson Jr. had never disrespected him before and that if he had to do it all over, he would “take the black eye,” the report states.
Anderson Sr. never said that his son was armed or that he was in fear of his life but repeated several times he had the right to defend himself, the report states.
“Sadly, this event resulted in a loss of life, but apparently the individual appears to be the homeowner, so stand your ground will be at play here,” said attorney John Houlzbar, who is not affiliated with the case.
Under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, a person who is somewhere they’re allowed to be and isn’t doing anything illegal can meet force with force, including deadly force, if they’re afraid of being killed or seriously hurt.
“A lot of people would have been like,’If it escalated that much, why wouldn’t you just stop? That’s your son.’ He’s in his home, OK. There’s no duty for him to retreat,” said attorney Latoya Williams Shelton, who is not affiliated with the case.
But defense attorneys say the state could hone in on Anderson Sr. leaving to get the gun.
“I do think that the state would try to poke holes in it, basically saying, ‘Well he turned into the aggressor when he went to go get it,’” Williams Shelton said.
Anderson Sr., 52, was booked into the Duval County jail on charges of murder and attempted murder. As of Wednesday, he remained in jail on no bond.