Tuesday’s shooting of a JSO officer at Baptist South is the third of its kind this year.
In January, a JSO officer was grazed in the face by a bullet after he followed up on a burglary. The suspect died in the exchange of gunfire.
A few months later, an officer was met with gunfire when he was following a traffic stop. He was left in critical condition, and the suspect died by suicide, JSO said.
Now, a third JSO officer has been shot, hit in the face with a bullet while responding to a suspicious person at Baptist South. The suspect in this case was killed in the gunfire exchange.
“This is our fifth officer involved shooting this year. Our third officer this year that has been shot,” Sheriff T.K. Waters said. “That is something that I’ve never seen in the...31 and a half years that I’ve been working here.”
News4JAX Crime and Safety Analyst Lakesha Burton said the community should be outraged. She spent more than two decades with JSO, retiring as an Assistant Chief last year.
In another case from February, a fourth officer was knocked unconscious responding to a shoplifting suspect at the Walmart on Philips Highway.
Burton notes the FBI has identified two major reasons behind violence against law enforcement.
“Number one, subjects are shooting at the police because they want to evade or escape arrest,” Burton said. “They don’t want to go to jail. But secondly, it’s because people hate the police.”
However, law enforcement support their own. In February, The Fraternal Order of Police Jacksonville posted a video of the officer who was assaulted at Walmart leaving the hospital while other officers clapped.
“This hero goes home to begin her long road to recovery. It is our duty and privilege as her Blue Family to welcome her out and wish her well. We thank JFRD, FHP, and UF Health for helping us give this officer the sendoff she deserves. Jacksonville, continue to keep her and her family in your prayers!!,” FOP said in a post.
Burton said the community needs to come together and recognize violence against anyone is intolerable - law enforcement included.
The incidents this year in which officers pulled the trigger are being investigated by the State Attorney’s Office, as per protocol. A spokesperson with the sheriff’s office says the officer left in critical condition after following up on the traffic stop and the officer beaten in the shoplifting case are both continuing on their road to recovery.