First Alert Weather Alert: Flood Warning expires at 8:00 PM on 4/28, issued at 10:03 AM Bryceville, FL | Callahan, FL | Fernandina Beach, FL | Glen Saint Mary, FL

Sheriff talks about 14th police involved shooting

Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Share
Updated: 12/19/2009 10:31 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville's Sheriff is going on the record about a police shooting this week that left a man dead.

A JSO officer says he was forced to shoot and kill Neil Southerland when he tried to ram his patrol car during a police chase. For the first time, Sheriff John Rutherford is talking about what happened in a quiet Mandarin neighborhood.

Seven gun shots were fired by a JSO officer at a suspect they were chasing on Loretto Road in Mandarin Monday morning. Neil Southerland died in the front seat of his truck. Now many people are asking was the shooting justified. Southerland didn't have a gun, but police say he was using his car as a weapon.

Police sent Action News pictures showing how Southerland rammed his truck and trailer into a police car. Inside that car though was a civilian passenger, but 21-year-old Kristy Halstead isn't talking about what happened. She put a note on her door today saying she had no comments.

Police say they tried to stop Southerland by throwing stop sticks at his tires but he didn't stop. So an officer fired his weapon.

Friday Action News went to the top cop, asking him the tough questions about the investigation. We asked the sheriff if he thought the officer was justified in firing the shots. "Now you're asking me to go from a to c. You have to go through b first. Thank you," said Sheriff Rutherford.

Sheriff Rutherford dodged specific questions about Monday's shooting.  "The state attorney's office is investigating. The Sheriff's Office is investigating and the truth will come out and justice will prevail. We'll have a transparent open process," said Sheriff Rutherford.

This is the 14th police involved shooting of the year. While 14 may sound like a high number, it's a lot less than last year. That's something the sheriff says he's happy about. "We are down 50 percent in our police shootings this year, mainly because violent crime is down in double digits we're happy about that 10."

The officer who fired his gun has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. This is standard procedure.

The NAACP also issued a statement this week condemning this police shooting.
Share
5 Comment(s)
Comments: Show | Hide

Here are the most recent story comments.View All

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

trishbob - 12/20/2009 12:53 AM
0 Votes
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is looking for 15 good citizens to fill their next "Citizens Academy" class. Will any of the NAACP Board members step up and attend ? Too busy, too old, already know everything you need to know ? Without the Police you Will not "may" get what you ask for---better be careful.

trishbob - 12/20/2009 12:42 AM
0 Votes
I think the NAACP Board, everyone of them, should do a ride-a-long and experience what our officers are faced with. Why don't they step forward and do this ? It's so easy to sit in judgement when you haven't been there.

trishbob - 12/20/2009 12:32 AM
0 Votes
No doubt, it's terrible when a life is lost. A moments anger, a split second decision and two lives are in jeopardy. The Officer will live the rest of his life knowing he took a life. Was it necessary ? Would the Officer's been taken ? And, the civilian ride-a-long ? Two citizens trying to live righteous lives have been drawn into a situation neither wanted. Drawing a weapon or using a vehicle as a weapon against an appointed person trained and sworn to protect citizens demands they protect themselves. That moment of anger, loss of control cost this individual his life. Would you rather it have been the Officer or maybe the officer and civilian ? The victim made the decision, he wrote his own destiny, only he is to blame. He could have shut the engine off and ended the conflict, his choice, bad decision. Only he can be blamed, he was a fault.

7MICK - 12/19/2009 1:09 PM
0 Votes
GREAT JOB BY THIS OFFICER. HE PERFORMED HIS DUTIES WELL. HE AND HIS ASSOCIATES WERE IN DANGER FROM THIS POS. I AM GLAD THAT THIS PARASITE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED FROM THE STREETS OF JACKSONVILLE. WE HAVE NO FURTHER CONCERNS WITH THE THUG. HOPEFULLY SOMEONE SENDS THE NAACP BACK TO THE GHETTO WHERE THEY BELONG. SEEMS LIKE THEY HAVE PLENTY OF NOWHERE-TO-BE-FOUND DADDIES TO LOOK FOR.

Bubba - 12/18/2009 10:15 PM
0 Votes
Amazing, the NAACP just jumps into the middle of all this stuff. I think that the NAACP should worry about all the good little boys that Momma said just need another chance , another chance to kill a cop, or may be another white delivery woman, thats who the NAACP should be worrying about. I guess minding their own business is not something they understand.. May be we have to drop our pants to our knees and strut around in dangerous groups before they understand they are just full stupid Jive, and can't stay out of the sheriffs business of protecting us.
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.
Mobile advertising for this site is available on Local Ad Buy.