Questions, confusion over if Jacksonville Beach city security cameras were working during shootings

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Surveillance systems are a powerful crime-fighting tool, but there are questions about whether the cameras placed throughout Downtown Jacksonville Beach were working properly during the St. Patrick’s Day shootings.


Three shootings left one dead and three others hurt, including an innocent bystander. The first was at the boardwalk near the Best Western Hotel, the second was in the parking lot outside The Ritz and the third was outside of Sneakers sports bar. Action News Jax spotted city cameras in the general vicinity of each crime scene.

On Monday after the initial press conference, Action News Jax Ben Becker asked a Jacksonville Beach Police Department spokesperson if the security cameras installed in 2018 were functional and if they captured anything. The spokesperson responded, “The city cameras were not operational. Detectives are working with businesses to gather available video. We have nothing to release at this time.”

READ: Jacksonville Beach shootings: Police identify man killed, release description of suspects

The spokesperson also spoke on the phone to Becker and said it was because of the cyber hack the city has been dealing with since late January.

However, on Tuesday, the agency said the cameras were working and there was confusion between the cyber hack and an upgrade the CCTV systems are going through.

Action News Jax followed up again asking what changed in the last 24 hours and heard back from the department’s top detective.

He told Action News Jax the city’s cameras did capture footage of the boardwalk shooting and the deadly shooting at Sneakers and said they had trouble accessing the video because of a problem installing an app on investigators’ computers. He added that access to the cameras hasn’t been as easy as it used to be, and it wasn’t until later Monday that they realized they were able to see some of what happened.

The detective added he believed the spokesperson was given bad information from someone and they’re working to get to the bottom of it.

No arrests have been made so far and police are looking for several suspects.

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