Jacksonville, FL – A gunman hurled himself off of the Dames Point Bridge last Sunday night after he allegedly shot a Jacksonville police officer in the back during an ambush that led to a lengthy vehicle pursuit.
The incident began at a residence on Old Middleburg Road at approximately 10:50 p.m. on Oct. 1, WJXT reported.
Police responded to the scene after receiving a report of an attempted burglary, according to the Jackson Sheriff’s Office (JSO).
That’s when the suspect, later identified as 37-year-old Charlie Brown, allegedly ambushed the officers, WJXT reported.
The suspect fired multiple rounds during the attack and ultimately shot one of the officers in the back before jumping into a nearby car and fleeing the scene, the JSO said.
Investigators said Brown “basically stole” the car from the residence he attempted to burglarize, WJXT reported.
The owners of the home said they knew Brown, but police did not immediately release information about how they were acquainted.
The suspect allegedly continued shooting at police as he led them on a 20-mile chase that ended when drove onto the Dames Point Bridge and crashed into a median, according to investigators.
He then bailed out of the wrecked car and jumped off into the St. Johns River below, WJXT reported.
Police said they could see Brown swimming briefly before he slipped beneath the surface.
#JSO is on scene of an Officer Involved Shooting near the 4100 block of Middleburg Road North. Officer transported to local hospital for evaluation, suspect being sought. More to follow as it is learned. pic.twitter.com/dV5rE6t2uh
— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) October 3, 2022
Jacksonville police and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue divers located his body at approximately 3 a.m. the following morning, according to WTLV.
Investigators said they located the gun Brown allegedly used during the shooting near where his body was recovered from the riverbed, WJXT reported.
It was not immediately clear if Brown was hit by gunfire during the shootout, but investigators confirmed they did find blood inside the stolen vehicle after the suspect jumped into the river.
The officer who was shot in the attack was transported to the hospital for evaluation, WJXT reported.
Police said the ballistic vest he was wearing likely saved his life by stopping the bullet, although he did suffer severe bruising.
“The vest did its job but it’s still a pretty painful injury,” Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief Brian Kee told reporters during a press conference early Monday morning.
#BREAKING A man is dead after shooting a Jacksonville Sherriff’s Officer and leading police on a 20 mile chase according to the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office.
We have more details on @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/Pq73KKIPRp
— Brianna Andrews (@BriannaDAndrews) October 3, 2022
The officer has since been released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home, WJXT reported.
Police said no one else was injured during the incident.
Brown was previously sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of domestic assault out of South Carolina, according to the news outlet.
He was still on probation in connection with that offense when the series of events unfolded on Sunday night, WJXT reported.
The State Attorney’s Office has launched an independent investigation into the incident, WJAX reported.
Two Jacksonville officers were placed on administrative leave in the wake while the investigation is pending, as per protocol.