JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man was arrested on Naval Air Station Jacksonville today after he crashed his car, jumped a fence and hid in the woods on the naval base for several hours Wednesday.
NAS Jax security, Jacksonville Sheriff’s office, Baker County NCIS, and more were brought in to look for the man, who has not been identified but was described as a thin white man.
Neighbors said they saw helicopters around for hours as the search continued.
Assistant Chief Chris King with JSO said a K9 took the man down, later adding he was taken to the hospital but did not specify whether or not the man had injuries from the K9.
“The suspect did flee; he was taken in by the K9.”
Five hours after a search began, authorities found the man in the southwest corner of the base. He was hiding in the wooded area unarmed.
“Cooperative to the point where he was running every time we made contact with him. K9 took him into custody,” King said.
JSO was unable to confirm if the car the man crashed was stolen, but one viewer told us it was her car that was crashed — just hours after it was stolen from her home.
She told Action News Jax the man broke into her home through a window overnight.
“I can’t shake the thought that if I hadn’t woken up and moved, he would have hurt me or even worse.”
She said the man stole a tablet, her family’s wallets, and their car keys before crashing the car.
“Also my fiancé was at the scene with JSO from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today where they treated him like a suspect instead of a victim,” she said.
She said the police’s treatment of her fiancé made the family even more upset after a traumatic morning. She noted that after the crash, her 4-year-old daughter’s car seat was visible in the back.
JSO would not clarify if the car was stolen, and they did not link the two events. They also said they did not know why the man ran from the car.
The suspect created even more problems after the crash — the base was locked down for hours before he was caught — but NAS said it was a smooth operation: “We did everything that we practiced for. and we were acutely aware that people were concerned about what was going on.”
Some people online took issue with how long it took to be notified of the breach — NAS did not alert those on base for an hour and a half.
When Action News Jax asked about this delay, NAS added, “Initially we are not going to put out a bunch of information if we don’t have the information ourselves.”
NAS credited a training program the Navy has been running that meant the base was already on high alert.
“We are in the middle of a navy-wide security exercise so we were already kind of ready to go because we are waiting for an exercise issue, and then we had a real-world issue.”
But one family has been left in fear.
“I haven’t been able to eat all day, I’m scared to go to sleep tonight, I’m scared to let my daughter sleep alone, I’m scared to be alone in the home,” the female victim said.
NAS Jax said the base was proud of how local agencies came together.
“So, when something bad happens, it is almost seamless how we are able to come together.”
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