• Man dies after Jacksonville carjacking, kidnapping & crash

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax


    Family, friends and neighbors are mourning the loss of an 84-year-old great-grandfather who died after he was carjacked and kidnapped during a crime spree, according to police.

    Church deacon and retired Navy chief Louis Reese had been in critical condition since Wednesday, after an armed robbery suspect took him hostage during a police chase that injured two officers.

    “It hurts,” said neighbor Fred Whitbread.

    Whitbread said he visited Reese in the hospital on Saturday.

    He said Reese was there for him in the past when he was in poor health.

    “When I had cancer, he brought somebody up here and we prayed right here in this hall,” said Whitbread.

    Cellphone video from Rudder Road in Atlantic Beach showed officers with their guns drawn, trying to stop Reese’s silver car from leaving a driveway.

    After a police chase, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said that car crashed with Reese and suspect, Lawrence Hall III, inside.

    “To my mind, it was an unnecessary thing. The man was 84 years old. The guy who took the car could have just taken the car and not taken the man,” said Whitbread.

    Outside Oak Harbor Baptist Church, where Reese was a deacon, a sign says, “Pray for Mayport.”

    Lead pastor David Tarkington, of First Baptist Church of Orange Park, which is a partner to Oak Harbor Baptist, sent Action News Jax the following statement on Reese’s passing:

    “With heavy hearts we are informing our church members, family members, friends, and all in the Mayport and extended online community of the passing of our brother in Christ and dear friend Louis Reese. At the request of the family, we will be doing no interviews or other public statements. Funeral arrangements are pending. We know that due to Louis's surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord, by God's grace alone, he is home in heaven now, and for that we can rest, celebrate, and be affirmed in the hope that is the gospel. Please pray for his family here, his church family, and all who are grieving, fearful, and worried as well as those still recovering physically from last week's incident.”

    Hall has been charged with murder.

    He is still in jail and is not eligible for bond.

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