UPDATE: Man’s death ruled a suicide in deputy-involved shooting in Fruit Cove

FRUIT COVE, Fla. —

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said the man, identified as Joshua Thornton, did not die from a deputy’s gunshot.

Thornton’s death was ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the St. Johns County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The deputy, identified as Deputy Jylton Tusha, did shoot Thornton in his shoulder but that wound was determined to be non-life-threatening, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said no one else was hurt and there was no property damage as a result of this incident.

This was Deputy Tusha’s first deputy-involved shooting. He has been with SJSO since October 14, 2019.

“This is an unfortunate situation for all involved and illustrates the dangers of this profession and that a deputy sheriff never really knows what they are approaching,” said Sheriff Robert Hardwick. “We ask that you keep those involved in your thoughts and prayers including the deceased’s family.”

In the sheriff’s updated release, they expressed the importance of mental health and encourage anyone who may be struggling or know someone who is struggling, to reach out for help.

There are many resources available to help. You can find a list of them here.

>>RESOURCES: Mental health help

In the sheriff’s updated release, they expressed the importance of mental health and encourage anyone who may be struggling or know someone who is struggling, to reach out for help.

There are many resources available to help. You can find a list of them here.

ORIGINAL STORY

A man is dead after shots were fired by the man and a deputy during a traffic stop on Tuesday off state Road 13 in Fruit Cove, St. Johns County, Sheriff Rob Hardwick said.

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Hardwick said just before 4:30 p.m., the deputy conducted a traffic stop on Kingsland Court in Fruit Cove.

When the deputy approached the car, which was parked in a driveway, the man driving fired one shot. The deputy then fired one shot, Hardwick said.

The deputy was not hurt, and the man was killed. The man was the only person in the car, and there is no longer any threat to the public, Hardwick said.

Hardwick said it is still not yet known what the traffic stop was for, if the man fired from inside or outside of the car, or what kind of gun he had.

Investigators are still working to identify the man.

We spoke with the woman who lives in the home where it all unfolded. She did not want us to identify her out of fear but said she was shocked and scared to find her home at the center of it.

“I didn’t have a clue. It was at my house. He said, ‘Do you live alone?’ I was like, ‘Yes.’ ‘Is there anybody else in the house?’ he kept asking. I said, ‘Yes, my dog and six cats. I just rescued three kittens.’”

The woman said she knew the man involved. She had hired him to trim some of her trees. She said he had done tree work for her before, but he wasn’t scheduled to do any work on Tuesday.

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“I have no idea why he pulled into my driveway,” the woman said.

We watched as the white truck was towed away just before 8 p.m. The side of the truck indicated Joshua Tree Service.



Bailey Husker

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.