Jacksonville Beach officer, suspect shot in exchange of gunfire

Police-involved shooting happened near Waffle House

By Colette DuChanois - Web producer, Scott Johnson - Reporter, Erik Avanier - Reporter, Vic Micolucci - I-TEAM reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - A police officer and a suspect were shot Wednesday night during an exchange of gunfire near the Waffle House in Jacksonville Beach, authorities said.

According to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, a man was walking on Beach Boulevard near Third Street about 10 p.m. when he fired shots at an officer driving down the street. That officer was not injured. 

Police said the man suspected of opening firing on the officer then ran east on Beach Boulevard, where he was met by two more officers.

During an exchange of gunfire, one of the officers and the suspect were shot, according to Cmdr. Tommy Crumley.

Both the officer and the suspect were taken to Memorial Hospital. Neither of their names have been released.

"I am happy to report that the officer that was shot from Jacksonville Beach is in good condition, stable and expected to recover fully," said Mayor Charlie Latham. "We're all very grateful."

Crumley told News4Jax the police chief was with the officer's wife at the hospital.

Witnesses at a nearby Waffle House were held and questioned by police for several hours. 

Wayne Chattaway said his daughter was in the Waffle House when she heard gunshots.

"Everyone was, like, going wherever they could to get cover," said their friend, Braidyn Cunningham. "It was scary, obviously."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is handling the investigation. 

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that they were praying for the injured officer.

According to police, it's been decades since an officer was shot in Jacksonville Beach, and the last officer-involved shooting was in 2010. It wasn't immediately known the last time a beaches officer was hit by gunfire.

In May 2009, a 33-year-old man was shot to death in the parking lot of this Waffle House and two suspects fled in a car. Jacksonville Beach police didn't know at the time if the victim, 33-year-old Roderick Batts was the intended target of the shooting. The case was never solved.

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