JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville police officer shot and killed a man outside a Northside Walmart Friday night after the man sprayed the officer in the face with wasp and hornet spray, according to JSO.
Investigators also said the man was armed with a 15-inch baton and a knife.
Officers responded to a disturbance inside the Walmart at the River City Marketplace around 10:40 p.m Friday.
Assistant Chief T.K. Waters said a man inside the store was making employees uncomfortable. The man, identified as Bruce Williams Clark, 37, had been seen with a weapon inside the store in the past and was asked to leave but refused.
Waters said when the man eventually went outside the Walmart, Jacksonville Sheriff's officer S. Dorcelian approached him. He said the man was crouched down as if he was hiding something, keeping one hand out of the officer's view when the man suddenly sprayed Dorcelian in the face with wasp spray.
Waters said the night o the shooting, Dorcelian had been warned the man was armed and dangerous and the officer's training came into play when he was sprayed in the face.
"Once he becomes incapacitated, that encounter becomes an armed encounter for both individuals. and Officer Dorcelian knowing that, reverted back to his training, had to use deadly force in this situation," Waters said.
Dorcelian fired three shots and the man died at the scene. Waters said Clark has a record, including, two Baker Acts in Jacksonville. In Maine, he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest, theft, DUI and violation of probation.
Waters said Dorcelian was not wearing a police bodycam and has been with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for three years. This was the first time he has shot a suspect. The officer was not injured but was shaken up.
Dorcelian was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after all police shootings.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson agrees with the use of deadly force taken by the officer in this case because of the initial reports that the man was seen with a weapon and because the man sprayed the officer.
“He protected himself. He protected others, and he did the right thing,” Jefferson said. "You’ve got to be either bold and brazen or stupid to spray someone, (especially) a uniformed officer there answering a call. To do that, you put your life in jeopardy."
Jefferson said Dorcelian responded as he was trained.
"This sounds like a justifiable shooting simply because who knows what was in that spray can? It could’ve temporarily blinded him, given him an opportunity to take that officer's weapon and use a weapon against him," Jefferson said. ”You shoot until the threat is stopped."
Walmart released the following statement to News4Jax regarding the incident:
“We are working with law enforcement as part of an ongoing investigation. We have processes designed to assess the amount of security we use at stores.” Robyn Babbitt Director, Walmart corporate communication.
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