Grandmother of man fatally shot by Jacksonville police: ‘They didn’t have to kill him’

New4JAX speaks with family of Leon Burroughs the day after JSO releases bodycam footage from the shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of a man killed in a police shooting in Jacksonville spoke publicly Wednesday, the day after the body camera footage was released.

According to police, Leon Burroughs, 39, opened fire at them last month in Northwest Jacksonville, causing a bullet to graze an officer in the head.

When News4JAX first spoke with the family after the shooting, they said that they wanted to see the body camera video for themselves.

Now that it’s out, Leon Burroughs’ grandmother, Dorothy, says he did not deserve this.

“I didn’t like it,” she said about the bodycam video.

Dorothy Burroughs said she will never get over the Jan. 20 shooting.

While investigating a burglary in which a smartwatch was stolen, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, police tracked the watch to Leon Burroughs and found him asleep in a car on Hardee Street.

DISCLAIMER: The footage contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.

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In the bodycam footage, police spot a gun on the hood of the car and move it to the back. They then work to get Leon Burroughs out of the car. In the video, Leon Burroughs can be heard responding, asking them to move the flashlights, and one officer does.

This is the part Burroughs grandmother feels could’ve been done differently.

“Whatever he did, they should’ve took him out and talked to him. They didn’t have to kill him,” Dorothy Burroughs said.

In the footage, officers try repeatedly to get Leon Burroughs out of the car. News4JAX counted, and police told him nine times to step out. At that moment, the video shows a flash coming from inside the car and then police return fire.

“He had just woke up. He didn’t have time to get no gun. He just woke up, and they had the lights flashing, and he said, ‘What’s going on?’ And they shot him,” Dorothy Burroughs said.

This officer was OK after the shooting. Leon Burroughs died at the scene.

“He didn’t deserve that,” Dorothy Burroughs said.

His grandmother doesn’t believe this shooting is justified. It’s still being reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office.

News4JAX was told the family is speaking with their attorneys about this situation.


About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad