SCLC wants answers in fatal January shooting

Officer grazed by bullet during scuffle that ended with suspect dead

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Eight months after a 38-year-old suspect in a domestic dispute was shot and killed by a police officer, the Jacksonville chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organization is asking why reports about the incident are still not public and staying he's lost all confidence in the state attorney's office.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that Anthony Harris was shot seven times the night of Jan. 28 after he tried to pull an officer's handgun from his holster while they were struggling on the sidewalk in front of a home on Pearl Street.

On Friday, local SCLC chairman Juan Gray sent out a statement expressing frustration about the time that has passed without the medical examiner's report being released or a state attorney's review of the police-involved shooting being completed.

Gray says all seven shots struck Harris (pictured, right) in the back and since the state attorney's office and Sheriff's Office work closely together, he is asking for the U.S. Justice Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to examine the case.

Gray says Harris' family has gone through enough hurt and it's time for answers.

"Enough is enough," Gray said Friday. "Whether you do your job or you need to get out of the way, but we are not going to sit idly by and let the legal system take its time to be selective about who they will prosecute or who they will not prosecute."

Asked about the SCLC request for an investigation, Gov. Rick Scott's officeresponded that the case was being handling appropriately.

"Angela Corey' office is handling it and the governor's office will await a decision," it said in a statement.

Sheriff John Rutherford said he is also waiting for the state attorney's office report to be released before his agency can begin its internal affairs investigation, but it's not unusual of it to take this long.

"They've had some very high profile cases (that) I'm sure has them all working as hard as they can over there," Rutherford said.

The state attorney's office was unavailable for comment.

Channel 4's crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said in this case, the autopsy report from the medical examiner will play a huge role in this investigation.

"It will release a lot of information that, right now, has question marks in front of it," Jefferson said.

Details of January shooting

JSO Chief Tom Hackney said after the shooting that the officers were responding to a 911 domestic battery call about a 17-year-old being injured by his father. Hackney said one officer approached Harris from behind while the other was in front.

As the officers were trying to handcuff Harris, he said several times he wasn't going back to jail and began to resist. In the scuffle, all three fell to the ground. 

Hackney said when Harris tried to get Officer Kevin Kilcoin's weapon out, Officer Scott Williams disengaged, stood up and fired at Harris, hitting him seven times.

Kilcoin was shot in the thigh.  His wife tells Channel 4 he is still recovering from the injury and has not been able to return to his normal duties.

Record show Harris had a long criminal history -- including two arrests for murder -- and repeatedly yelled, "I'm not going back to jail," according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police say Harris had been arrested 25 times since he was 15 -- including two on charges of murder, along with armed robbery, kidnapping and various drug and other charges. He also served time in state prison for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death.

According to court records, Harris had been found guilty of three felonies over the past two decades. When he died Monday night, he had only been out of jail for 11 days on his most recent arrest on drug charges and failing to pay child support.

Police say Officer Williams chose to use lethal force because he and his partners' lives could have been at risk.

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