JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man is dead after shooting a Jacksonville police officer and leading law enforcement officers on a 20-mile chase Sunday night before jumping off the Dames Point Bridge, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said it started with an attempted burglary around 10:50 p.m. at a home on Old Middleburg Road. When officers arrived, a man ambushed them, firing multiple rounds and hitting one of the officers in the back, JSO said. The Sheriff’s Office said one of the officers returned fire, but in the hours afterward, it wasn’t clear if the man had been hit.
Some neighbors told News4JAX that they heard about five shots. One said they heard a gunshot a little before 11 p.m., and then a minute or so later, they heard more shots, prompting them to hide in the back of their house.
According to JSO, the man drove away in a car he “basically stole” from the home he was trying to rob and then fired again at the officers.
Officers said the man led them on a chase until he crashed into a median on the Dames Point Bridge, got out of the car and jumped into the river, where he was seen swimming for a bit before going under. Police closed the bridge for several hours, but it has since reopened.
According to JSO, blood was found in the car.
Police said that they found the man’s body around 3 a.m. and that the gun used in the incident was recovered from the riverbed nearby. JSO on Monday afternoon identified him as 37-year-old Charlie Brown.
The officer who was shot was taken to the hospital for evaluation but was released with severe bruising. JSO said the body armor that the officer was wearing may have saved his life.
Both of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.
#BREAKING A man is dead after shooting a Jacksonville Sherriff’s Officer and leading police on a 20 mile chase according to the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office.— Brianna Andrews (@BriannaDAndrews) October 3, 2022
We have more details on @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/Pq73KKIPRp
According to investigators, people were home during the attempted burglary in the Hunters Lake subdivision, and those people knew the man.
On the scene Monday in the subdivision, evidence markers could be seen, as well as trash scattered in front of the house. The front door appeared to have been hit by gunfire. A car in the driveway appeared to have bullet holes on both sides, and all four of the car’s tires were flat.
Neighbors shared their concerns.
“It’s, you know, saddening,” a neighbor said. “It’s heartbreaking really to hear it.”
News4JAX spoke with one woman who has lived in the area for two decades. The resident, who lives just a couple of houses away, knows the family who lives inside the Old Middleburg Road home. She said her grandchildren used to play with the children who live there.
The neighbor, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, said she was shocked when she found out about what happened.
“We kind of knew something had happened late last night when we saw all the commotion with the cops and stuff when we saw all the lights in the neighborhood. When I actually heard this morning on the news, I was, like, ‘Wow,’” she said.
JSO’s crime map shows a few spots of trouble in the surrounding area since April, which is as far back as it displays: a burglary at an unoccupied structure, a vehicle break-in, and an incident involving possession, vandalism and a concealed gun.
News4JAX has learned that the only local arrest for Charlie Brown was in 2012 when he was picked up on a warrant out of South Carolina. It’s unknown what the charge was. But court records show he was arrested in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, on a charge of domestic assault. He was sentenced to five years in prison and was released in April. He was still on probation.