Police tell us a Wednesday night carjacking in Moncrief resulted in the victim being sent to the hospital after being badly beaten, and the shooting death of a suspect, 24-year-old Tony Smith Jr., by a police officer in the Hilltop Village apartment complex.
It happened in the 7100 block of Lem Turner.
Officers tell us today the victim is recovering.
“He endured a severe beating by the four suspects," said Department of Investigations and Homeland Security Director, Ron Lendvay. "...and I commend him for his courage to defend himself and get through this. He’s a got a long road to recovery ahead. ”
Police tell us the victim was packing his things into his truck when he was approached by four men, one of whom was armed.
JSO says the four suspects left the victim unconscious after a brutal beating and left with his truck and belongings.
On-Star sent the location of the vehicle to authorities, and police were able to spot it near the Hilltop Village apartments about a mile and a half away from "Star Wash."
Police say all four suspects fled from the vehicle on foot, and in the ensuing pursuit, they Smith was chased up to the third floor landing by officer Rodney Deconti.
#MORE: The weapon recovered by police at The Hilltop Apartments from the scene where 24 year old Tony Bernard Smith Jr. was shot and killed by a police officer.@ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/YJ2TqW1Jik— Ryan Nelson (@RyanANJax) November 1, 2018
They tell us Deconti then fired a lethal round, but did not say where the suspect was struck. They tell us that information will be revealed in the autopsy.
Action News Jax Crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson tells us the officer used discretion in those moments.
“If that person, that perpetrator, is not adhering to what the officer is saying and he makes some type of quick move or sudden gesture, then that could cause the officer to use deadly force," said Jefferson.
Officers today say Deconti was a 10-year veteran of the force, and had never been in an an officer-involved shooting prior to this incident.
Action News Jax Ryan Nelson spoke one on one to the deceased suspect’s brother.
"I’ve been trying to call him and I’m like, something ain’t right," said the man, who did not want to be identified.
He tells Action News Jax the family hasn’t heard from police, and they were surprised when they heard police say Smith was a documented gang member and had warrants out for his arrest.
“I wasn’t aware of the warrant or the gang relation that he was in,” he said.
One suspect is behind bars.
Police says 21-year-old Jamal Lincoln is in custody. Friends of the victim tell us he’s undergone surgery and had facial fractures.
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