A Jacksonville police officer was wounded, and a man was shot and killed by other officers when a burglary investigation evolved into a shooting early Friday evening outside a home in a Northwest neighborhood.
Sheriff T.K. Waters said the officer is lucky to be alive.
He was struck by a bullet that grazed the left side of his face in the shooting about 6:30 p.m. in the 1800 block of Hardee Street. The officer was expected to be released from the hospital later Friday evening, Waters said.
"We are fortunate that we didn't lose an officer tonight. I'm grateful for that and I'm grateful that they [Sheriff's Office police officers] are here to continue to work and serve this community," Waters said.
Waters said the man who wounded the officer died when police returned fire striking him several times. The Sheriff's Office didn't release the man's name Friday night but Waters said "he's had several dealings with local law enforcement."
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Police identified him as Leon Burroughs, 39. He had been armed with a black, semiautomatic handgun that investigation showed was used to wound the officer, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office also recovered a second handgun — equipped with what appears to be a laser sight attached to the bottom of the barrel — at the scene after the shooting.
The Friday night shooting was the second in as many days when Jacksonville police shot and killed a suspect.
In a separate incident Thursday night, police shot and killed a man who the Sheriff's Office said was armed with a hunting knife as he confronted narcotics detectives trying to arrest him.
The Thursday and Friday incidents were the first officer-involved shootings of 2023 in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville police shot and killed eight suspects last year and four others who survived, according to Times-Union records. In 2021, three suspects were killed by officers and four others were wounded. In 2020, eight suspects died in 14 police shootings in the city and one other was deemed self-inflicted.
Friday burglary investigation ends in gunfire
Waters gave the following chronology of events leading up to Friday's shooting:
About 5:30 p.m., police responded to a report of a burglary to a home about two blocks away from the Hardee Street shooting scene. About an hour later, five officers following up on that burglary "located a suspect vehicle in the 1800 block of Hardee Street."
Police approached the vehicle after first speaking to a resident living in a house at that location about who was inside the car. Officers had tracked a bicycle and some electronic items that had been stolen in the burglary to that location.
When the officers got to the vehicle they saw a handgun lying on top of the car. They removed the handgun and then began talking about how to talk to a man who was sleeping on the back seat inside the car.
The officers opened the car door and asked the man to show them his hands "probably seven or eight times from different officers," Waters said.
The sheriff said the officers asked the man to get out of the car. He refused to get out and repeatedly told officers to "turn the light off, get the light out of my face" so he could see.
"During the conversation, for an unknown reason, he fired off a shot and grazed one of our officers, wounded him on the left side of his face," Waters said. "Officers returned fire, all five of them, striking him several times killing him at the scene."
Waters said he was about to have dinner when he got the phone call notifying him of the shooting.
"When I got the phone call I lost my appetite, got dressed came out immediately and went to the hospital to see him. You know you just get that sick feeling because you don't want to lose an officer in the line of duty. That was my concern. Once I got to see him, I was much better," he said.
Waters said the five officers have been placed on paid administrative leave — standard Sheriff's Office procedure in officer-involved shootings.
In addition to the Sheriff's Office investigation, the State Attorney's Office is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting, which also is standard procedure in such incidents.
"We are focused on making sure that we get to the bottom of all this entire incident," Waters said.
First police shooting of 2023 on Thursday
The Sheriff's Office's first officer-involved shooting in 2023 on Thursday resulted in one man dead, another in custody and an 8-year-old child unharmed at least physically.
The Sheriff's Office identified 38-year-old Eric Nathaniel Thornton as the man killed by police Thursday — the first officer-involved shooting of 2023.
Thornton was armed with an Ozark Trail hunting knife as well as had a box cutter-style knife when he was shot, the Sheriff's Office in a news release on Saturday.
Chief Mark Romano has said narcotics detectives were conducting surveillance Thursday on a known drug dealer who was with another man in a vehicle in an apartment complex parking lot in the 13200 block of North Main Street. They observed multiple drug transactions and attempted to block the vehicle to take the suspect into custody about 5:45 p.m.
The driver — later identified as Thornton — tried to run away and had a large knife in his hand, Romano said.
Officers wearing tactical vests identifying themselves as police gave multiple commands for him to drop the knife. But he did not and instead turned toward them, and two officers shot him multiple times, the chief said.
The Sheriff's Office identified the initial suspect as 29-year-old Brian Gregory Brightman. Jail records show he was charged with selling fentanyl, child abuse, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and keeping a vehicle to store and sell drugs.
The boy in the car was his son and was with him in another vehicle during a March 2022 drug arrest that included a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Romano said Brightman was located and taken into custody without incident, and the 8-year-old was found in the vehicle.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville police officer wounded, man killed in Friday shooting