Son of JSO recruit who died after training: ‘He was everything to me'

Action News Jax reporter Jenna Bourne talks with the family of the JSO recruit who died after a medical emergency during physical traning on Thursday. Hear the emotional words his teen son said his father told him on Action News Jax on CBS47 at 5

The teenage son of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office recruit who died after physical training at the police academy said he wishes he could tell his father, "Thank you."

Photos: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office recruit who died during training at police academy

Action News Jax spoke to 15-year-old Isaiah Cephas on Friday, with his mother’s permission.


“Anywhere he’d go, I don’t know, people just gravitated to him,” Isaiah said. “I’m still shaking right now, trying to get over what happened.”

JSO Director of Investigations Ron Lendvay said 43-year-old recruit Tony Cephas was 10 days into his training at the Criminal Justice Center on FSCJ’s North Campus when he had a medical emergency Thursday.

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Lendvay said Cephas and the other recruits were taking a water break after 15 minutes of exercise; that’s when an instructor noticed Cephas wasn’t feeling well.

Lendvay said paramedics were already there in case of an emergency during training.

“I guess they told him to sit down and everything. And I guess, after that, he was unconscious. They’re still trying to figure out why. So, they performed CPR. It didn’t work. So, they ran him to the hospital,” Isaiah said.

Isaiah said his priority now is staying strong for his mother and 11-year-old sister.

“He told me from a younger age, he wanted me to – if anything ever happened to him, he wanted me to be the man of the house and to take control. And I’m trying the best I can right now without falling apart. I’m trying to be here for them right now,” Isaiah said

Isaiah said he and his father loved to play video games and do yard work together.

“I know he lived an amazing life. He helped so many people. He changed hearts of so many people, as well. So, I guess that’s what getting me through right now, because he was an amazing person,” said Isaiah.

If you want to help the Cephas family, you can find more information here.