GAINSVILLE, Fla. (AP) — An off-duty Jacksonville sheriff’s detective was taking his son to school when he was shot and critically wounded during an impromptu traffic stop, police said Wednesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the plainclothes narcotics detective chose to stop a white Cadillac, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief Tom Hackney said. The man who shot the officer had just threatened his girlfriend with a gun and was reported as being suicidal.
“It was bad luck that the officer encounters him immediately after this,” Hackney said.
The detective, who is not being identified because he works undercover, was wearing a “body armor” style vest when he got out of his car to approach the suspect, Hackney said. The word “police” was marked clearly on the vest.
The driver immediately opened fire, Hackney said, hitting the detective in the head, upper body and hand. The detective was out of surgery Wednesday afternoon and in critical but “more stable condition.”
The suspect, who has not yet been identified, ran away from the shooting scene and stole a large flatbed truck from a nearby business, Hackney said.
The detective, whose 14-year-old son was in the car but unharmed, managed to call for help.
The officers located the truck and pursued it into a nearby neighborhood, where it crashed into a house. The man ran into the backyard and two officers found the suspect holding a gun. They ordered him to drop it, Hackney said, and when he didn’t, the suspect was shot four times. He survived and is in custody.
The officers who fired are on administrative leave.
It was unclear why the detective had his vest on while off duty. Hackney said narcotics detectives often carry their bullet-proof vests in the car with them because they can be called into work at any time.