A Friday morning bank robbery on San Juan Avenue led Jacksonville police to a SWAT standoff at a home off Ricker Road where a suspect likely killed himself following a shootout with an officer, the Sheriff’s Office said. The ordeal spread over four hours and involved dozens of officers with rifles and bulletproof vests.
It started with a man with a gun robbing the 4206 San Juan Ave. Wells Fargo about 9:15 a.m. About 20 minutes later police developed information that sent them to another scene in the 7500 block of Patrice Court where they engaged in the standoff.
The Sheriff’s Office is still working to determine whether the gunman is the same suspect behind the bank robbery.
When an officer arrived to Patrice Court, contact was made with a woman who had four children with her, said Ron Lendvay, a director with the Sheriff’s Office. They were spirited away, and the woman confirmed the suspect inside had a gun. He was contacted by police over the phone, but he was agitated and cursed at them, Lendvay said.
“He eventually poked his head out of the door after opening it, stuck his arm out and fired a shot,” Lendvay said.
He went back in the home, then opened the door again a short time later.
“One of the police officers on scene fired a number of shots at the suspect,” Lendvay said.
He said he wasn’t sure if the suspect also exchanged gunfire at that point, but he went back inside and would no longer communicate with police.
The man did make phone calls to family members.
“During those phone calls he expressed remorse for a bad decision that he had made this morning, apologized to family members and alluded to at least one family member that he intended to kill himself,” Lendvay said.
The SWAT team decided to force the door open and located him dead from a potentially self-inflicted gunshot to his head with the gun at his side. It still needs to be determined if he was struck at all by the officer. Neither the suspect’s or officer’s names were released.
The perimeter was lined with police vehicles and officers for much of the day. Neighbors were not allowed to go to their homes and some were evacuated. By about 1:15 the standoff was over.
Joe Grandinetti said he was in his bedroom across the street from the man’s house when he heard the first three gunshots a little after 10 a.m.
“Then I heard three more real quick, so I went out to the front of the house to see what was going on and I saw a cop car across the street where the dude lives,” he said.
Grandinetti said he looked up to the corner of Ricker and Patrice and saw more police officers with guns out, trying to talk with the man. He was already inside the house.
“I think they shot at the door because there are some bullet holes in it,” he said. “They kept going, ‘If you are hurt, call 911,’ and ‘Come out of the house.’ They kept doing it but no answer.”
Grandinetti said he saw nothing, thinking maybe the man in the house was looking through his blinds.
The SWAT truck showed up soon after and they were evacuated from the neighborhood and kept a block or so away until it was all over. Grandinetti said the victim’s girlfriend was nearby being talked to by police officers.
He also said young children were evacuated from the house.
“They got them out. They got everybody out,” he said.
In the initial robbery the suspect was only seen fleeing on foot after getting money from a teller, police said. He was described as slim and wearing a dark hoodie and a mask. No one was injured during the robbery.
The same Wells Fargo also was robbed about 2 p.m. Feb. 17. Police said that man was described black, 25 to 30 years old, about 5-foot-9, 150 to 160 pounds, wearing a ball cap. No arrests have been reported in that case.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549