‘He was flying’: Witnesses describe police chase on Jacksonville’s Westside

Jacksonville — An armed robbery suspect led police on a two-mile chase down 103rd on Jacksonville’s Westside Wednesday evening that ended in a crash in the 9400 block of 103rd St.

Witnesses who saw the chase describe the suspect driving up to 50 miles-per-hour.

“He was flying,” Luke Wims said.

He was walking his dogs along 103rd just before the crash happened.

“[The suspect] was hanging out the driver’s door with the gun in his hand. He was shooting at the police.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the suspect robbed a nearby Vystar at gun point before leading police on a chase.

According to officers, he was in a stolen sedan driving west, but crossed into oncoming traffic several times before crashing.

The suspect fired his gun at police, but JSO said officers never fired back during the chase. The suspect eventually crashed into an oncoming pickup truck sending a grandfather and his granddaughter inside to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

After the head-on collision, police blocked in the suspect, who also had to be taken to the hospital along with an officer. Both are expected to be okay.

103rd was shut completely shut down for several hours while police and the FBI conducted its investigation of the incident.

“The wreck? It was a disaster. It looked real bad,” Sammuel Thomas said.

He was trying to get home. “Traffic was bad. It was so bad. I’ve never been stuck in traffic that long to where I was ready to walk home.”

Action News Jax obtained a copy of JSO’s Pursuit Policy. It states, “Police pursuits pose inherent risks to the community, as well as to those involved. Prior to initiating a pursuit, every officer is required to determine if the pursuit is justified.”

According to the policy, officers must consider whether not stopping the vehicle could put law enforcement or the community in serious risk of death of serious harm.

Officers can also pursue a chase if the suspect has committed a ‘forcible felony’.

Officers must also consider the speed of the chase, the threat to the community, and threat to police.

Action News Jax asked JSO how fast the suspect and officers were driving, and a representative said the crash is still under investigation and the speed is not available at this time.

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