A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office narcotics unit investigating a suspected drug dealer involved in an overdose death engaged in a shootout with him Wednesday, killing him on scene, according to Chief Brian Kee.
It began about 12:30 p.m. with undercover detectives doing surveillance on the suspect and trying to pull his van over, but he got out and ran near Cain Lane. They ordered him to stop, but he pulled out a handgun and fired at two detectives, Kee said.
He missed, and the detectives returned fire but also missed. The gunman took off and was jumping fences until he tried to hide in a wooded area, Kee said. About 10 minutes later he encountered two more detectives and opened fire on them on Broadway Avenue near Edgewood Avenue. They shot back, and this time struck him in a front yard.
Kee said he was still holding the gun with a finger on the trigger but was pronounced dead on the scene.
No officers were hurt and only one home appears to have also been struck in the exchange of gunfire. Kee said luckily no one was out in their yard at the time.
No names were released, but Kee said the suspect is believed to have been involved in a fentanyl overdose last week. He said there have been about 380 overdose deaths in Jacksonville this year, many from fentanyl.
He said this particular squad was created three years ago "to try to locate these dangerous drug dealers that are putting this kind of poison out in the community."
He was the eighth suspect shot by Jacksonville police this year and sixth who was killed, according to Times-Union records. That compares to six suspects shot all of last year with three dead.
Recent Jacksonville police-involved sho
Jacksonville police also were shot at twice last month, with one officer being struck in his bulletproof vest.
The first occurred on Oct. 2 when two officers responded to a burglary at a home near Old Middleburg Road and were met with gunfire from the 37-year-old suspect, the Sheriff's Office said. One of the rounds struck an officer in the back, but he was protected by his vest. He returned fire, but it was unknown at the time if the suspect was hit.
The gunman, who was known to residents of the home where the burglary call originated, stole a vehicle and continued shooting at the officers as he drove off, the Sheriff's Office said. He was chased several miles to the Dames Point bridge where he crashed. He was seen getting out and jumping into the St. Johns River where he drowned. It was later determined he had not been shot by the officer.
The second occurred on Oct. 16 when officers responded to a home on Edgewood Avenue West where residents said the suspect was armed with a firearm and wanted to basically get into a shootout with police in order to kill himself. Again officers were met with gunfire, this time striking one of their cars, according to the Sheriff's Office.
They took cover and the suspect retreated back into the house and then came back to the front door on a couple of occasions. Twice an officer fired at him but missed. Eventually two other people who were inside the house were able to escape or be let go, and the 34-year-old suspect eventually gave himself up. He had recently finished a 10-year prison term for attempted murder.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville police shootout kills suspected fentanyl drug dealer