• Jacksonville police reviewing PIT maneuver used to stop robbery suspect as protocol

    By: Elizabeth Pace , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    A Jacksonville family told Action News Jax they are devastated after their grandfather passed away.

    Louis Reese, 84, died from injuries he sustained during a police chase that ended with a crash in East Arlington on Jan. 2.

    Police said the suspect kidnapped Reese out of his own home and forced him in the back of his vehicle.

    The suspect used this vehicle to drive away from police. It is unclear if officers knew Reese was in the car during the incident.

    As police were trying to stop the suspect, they said he hit two officers who were seriously injured from the crash.

    They are now starting to recover, according to family.

    JSO police officers used the PIT maneuver tactic to force the suspect off of the road, which led to the car crashing into a power pole along Atlantic Boulevard near St. Johns Bluff.

    The impact from the crash snapped the pole in half and seriously injured the suspect and Reese.

    Reese’s family told me he suffered multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung.

    He died six days later at Memorial hospital.

    His granddaughter said they are too upset to speak publicly but are asking for justice.

    “It’s very unfortunate this victim has passed away as a result of these injuries but you have to look at the totality of the whole situation and you have to make a judgement call,” Action News Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson said. “We’ll be able to criticize this now forever, but I think the officers made the right decision.”

    Jefferson said he believes officers followed protocol from the initial findings.

    In order to execute a PIT maneuver, he said different factors are taken into consideration and must be approved by the department.

    “There was a dangerous criminal on the streets who could’ve killed others, and the objective was to get him off of the street, other innocent victims such as children, pedestrians, people driving around, because he was desperate to get away,” Jefferson said.

    It is unclear if officers knew Reese was inside the vehicle with the suspect at the time of the police chase.

    General counsel for the Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, Paul Daragjati, said investigators will take several factors into consideration when reviewing this case.

    “If I was defending this officer I would be concerned with what he knew when he actually executed this maneuver,” Daragjati said. “I’d want to know what information was given to everyone who was responding to the scene. I’d want to know the detail of what that suspect did prior to the actual intervention by the officer.”

    JSO confirmed they are reviewing the PIT maneuver as protocol, but any other information is under investigation. 

    Some of the Reese’s family wanted to make clear they are not planning to pursue a lawsuit in this case.

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