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Man Beat Officer Unconscious, Stomped On Head Before Fatal Shooting

Atlantic Beach, FL – An Atlantic Beach police officer shot a suspect who had beaten another officer unconscious on Thursday morning after the man told him “You’re going to have to kill me.”

The incident began at about 5 a.m. on July 16 when employees from Panera Break in Atlantic Beach called the police about a suspicious man in the parking lot, WJXX reported.

Police said an Atlantic Beach police officer arrived on the scene and made contact with the suspect, and struggle ensued.

The suspect knocked the police officer unconscious and was stomping on his head when a second Atlantic Beach police officer arrived on the scene to back up the first, WJXT reported.

“Witnesses in the area confirm that the officer [was] laying on the ground and the suspect was actively punching him,” Atlantic Beach Police Chief Victor Gualillo told WJXT.

The backup officer ordered the suspect to get off the other officer and get on the ground and he complied, initially.

But then he got up off of the ground again and advanced on the officer as he told him “You’re going to have to kill me,” WJXT reported.

The backup officer said the suspect reached for his duty weapon.

That’s when he drew his pistol and shot the suspect, according to WJXT.

Police said that the man dropped to the ground after he was shot but remained aggressive and combative.

He was eventually subdued when additional officers arrived on the scene, WJXT reported.

The wounded officer and the suspect were transported to the hospital.

Both were expected to survive, WJXT reported.

Chief Gualillo said the wounded officer had been on the Atlantic Beach police force for only 18 months after having retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with 27 years of service.

“This is a terrible thing to have happen at Atlantic Beach. This is typically a quiet community. We have not had an officer-involved shooting in over 20 years,” the chief said.

But he remained optimistic about the condition of his wounded officer, WJXT reported.

“He was able to talk to me,” the chief said. “We anticipate he will recover, but it will be a while before he can come back to work. He is a great officer. He has been an asset to us, for sure. He’s had plenty of time on the street and knows what he’s doing.”

Police were still trying to identify the suspect who they said had no identification on him, WJXT reported.

The suspect did not appear to have had a weapon.

It was the first officer-involved shooting for the backup officer who came to the first officer’s rescue, WJXT reported.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident.

Authorities have asked that anyone who captured cell phone video of the incident make it available to the police, WJXT reported.

Atlantic Beach police officers do not wear bodycams.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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