Police: Man killed by officer was convicted felon

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office releases details of fatal police shooting

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 28-year-old suspect in a shooting with a long criminal history trying to get away from a Westside apartment complex Wednesday night was shot and killed after he pointed a gun at a police officer, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police said Thomas Johnson shot a 39-year-old man at the Grande Court Apartments on Blanding Boulevard at 6:21 p.m. Responding Officer James Busque spotted the suspect vehicle at Blanding and 103rd Street and began a pursuit. After Busque saw the vehicle "playing chicken" with oncoming traffic, he used his cruiser in a PIT maneuver to cause the suspect vehicle to spin out and crash on London Bridge Lane, police said.

Adam Brown, chief of detectives, said Thursday morning that the officer issued several commands for Johnson to get out of the car; he eventually did, but with a gun in his hand, which he raised and pointed at Busque. Police said the officer fired three shots, all hitting Johnson. 

Police said Johnson then turned back toward the officer again with the gun still in hand, and Busque fired a fourth shot.

Eight minutes after the shooting at the apartment complex, Johnson was dead.

"Every time that a police officer shoots, we shoot to eliminate the threat," Brown said. "That means the suspect needs to be no longer a threat to the police officer or anybody else."

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Police said they retrieved Johnson's gun at the scene and have three witnesses to the events.

The victim in the initial shooting, Mario Perez, had come to the apartment at the request of a woman to fix a mechanical problem. Perez was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with non-life-threatening injures.

It wasn't apparent if Johnson knew Perez, but there was a report of an argument before Perez was shot several times.

Busque has been with JSO four and a half years and this was his first officer-involved shooting.

Records show Johnson was arrested 13 times in Duval County since 2005, including arrests for carjacking, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and resisting arrest with violence.

This was the sixth police shooting in Jacksonville this year. Three of them have been fatal.

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