‘He’s not an animal’: Brother says man facing charges in exchange of gunfire with police needs mental help

John Ervin facing 3 counts of attempted murder after exchange of gunfire with Jacksonville police in October, JSO says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The brother of a man who in October was accused of shooting at Jacksonville police says his loved one is suffering from a mental health issue.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said John Ervin was taken into custody on Oct. 16 after he fired shots at police. On Sunday, his brother, who asked to be identified as J.W., said Ervin is suffering from a severe mental illness.

J.W. told News4JAX that he was speaking with his brother on the phone on Oct. 16 and that his brother was feeling depressed about failed attempts to find a job after recently getting out of jail.

“He said, ‘I’m tired brother. I’m just tired.’ I said, ‘I’m on my way there,’” J.W. recalled. “I hung the phone up and called JSO and said, ‘Y’all need to Baker Act him because he’s at the end of his rope now.”

J.W. insists that he asked the dispatcher to tell the police to let him arrive first because his brother was already on edge.

Investigators at the scene said Ervin attempted “death by cop.”

“He said he was tired of living,” J.W. said. “It’s sad to say, but that’s true.”

According to JSO, police were told that Ervin was suicidal. JSO Assistant Chief Shawn Coarsey held a news conference that afternoon.

“As they (police) were exiting the vehicle, that subject came out of the residence and fired at least five rounds at those officers, striking one of their cars,” Coarsey said during the newser.

Ervin was arrested and charged with:

  • 3 counts attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer
  • 1 count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

J.W. insists his brother needs help.

“His mental health needs to be addressed,” J.W. said. “He’s not an animal. He’s not a menace to society. He needs mental help and he’s been trying to get it and he hasn’t gotten it yet.”

It is unknown if Ervin’s attorney will request a mental health evaluation. Ervin’s arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 22.

Court records show that in 2012, Ervin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting at two people. He was released in May.

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