JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday identified the man who a day prior was shot and killed by police in Riverside — a man investigators said was suspected in a murder case.
Police, and family members that shared a photo of him, confirmed he’s Tyree O’Neal, 29. The family said he had two children.
An eyewitness, who spoke to News4JAX on a condition of anonymity, said she was there Tuesday when shots rang out.
“Law enforcement officers yelling, ‘Stand down. Stand down. Freeze,’” she recalled.
She said she saw the man running across her backyard with a weapon.
“It looked like an AK- or SKS-style weapon. It looked like he was intending to shoot at the officers,” she said.
She said that from her angle, she could only see the man — later identified as O’Neal — with a weapon, but not the officers as she peeked through the blinds.
Chief Mike Romano previously said detectives located the man while they were doing surveillance in the area. He said the man came outside, attempted to get to his vehicle, and that when officers tried to take him into custody, O’Neal fled on foot, but was spotted nearby.
“Officers were giving commands for him to stop. He did not stop and he actually pulled a rifle out from underneath the hoodie that he was wearing,” Romano said. “One of our officers fired at the suspect at that time, one time. The suspect continued to run.”
The witness said she grabbed her children after she heard the shot and that they all hid in a closet, where she heard more gunshots.
Several doors down, Liz Floyd also heard that initial gunshot.
“And then I consistently heard two more. One right after the other,” Floyd said.
“I could clearly hear them say, ‘He’s moving. He’s moving,’” the anonymous witness added.
Investigators said O’Neal took off running into the back of the building.
“I could hear him running through the downstairs apartment of the building and subsequently emerge up front,” the witness said.
Police said that’s when O’Neal ran out the front door. By this time, Floyd was looking out her front window.
“And that’s when I saw the guy running out from the side across the yard to get to his car,” Floyd said. “As soon as he flipped around to the driver’s side to get in, that’s when all the officers swarmed in. Guns pointed. Shouting.”
Chief Romano said the man was again given commands to stop, but he then drove toward the officers.
Floyd said she ran to the back of her home to take cover with her 4-month-old. Then, she said, she heard more gunfire.
“Rapid fire. There was no way I could have even counted if I wanted to. It was so rapid,” Floyd said.
Moments after the shooting, her Ring doorbell camera recorded the moment officers pulled O’Neal from the car and started performing CPR. O’Neal died at the scene.
Police said O’Neal was a convicted felon who was wanted for illegal possession of a firearm. They also said he was a suspect in both a murder case and an attempted murder case.
While he did not live in the building, a witness we spoke with said the building, which they said was an Airbnb, had been under police surveillance for a long time.
When News4JAX spoke with O’Neal’s sister and cousin, they both said they still want JSO to release the bodycam video to see if the video supports the officer’s narrative of what happened.