Sheriff's Comments from the Jan. 29, 2007 6 pm Press Conference and Related Information

January 27, 2007  

Sheriff John Rutherford's Comments Jan. 29, 2007

• Good evening. I am Sheriff John Rutherford. This message is for the good citizens of Jacksonville – the law abiding citizens who live in those neighborhoods that have been most impacted by drugs and gun violence.

• We will not turn our backs on you – and together we will continue the good fight

• There have been three highly publicized police shootings in recent weeks, and I am going to recap them for you at this time.

• On the 13th of this month a mentally ill man took both of his parents hostage and threatened to kill them

• Our men and women put their lives on the line to rescue them, which they did, with no injuries.

• Then, after a standoff of almost 12 hours, the suspect suddenly exited the home and confronted police with a 12-guage shotgun. Our officers did what they were forced to do.

• But, because JSO was there, Mr. and Mrs. Shuler are alive today.

• In the second incident, at Sable Palms apartments, one week ago Saturday, an 18 year old man lost his life.

• I can only imagine the pain this has brought to his parents and family.

• But again, our officers were putting their lives on the line; answering calls for assistance from citizens and neighbors who are fed up with the drug dealing and gun violence that goes on in this complex.

• We are still early in the investigation, but we now know, from witnesses, that this was a planned robbery attempt.

• The weapon was recovered at the scene, as we earlier reported

• And our officer is alive today because the three shots fired at him missed, and the remaining three rounds misfired

• In addition, FDLE has now confirmed that gunpowder residue was found on the gloves worn by Mr. Woods that evening.

• This last incident, Saturday night, is the most tragic of all.

• It involves a man we believe to have been a good citizen, trying to fight dope dealers and violence in his neighborhood

• This investigation is very fresh

• And our procedures and processes are very methodical. We'll go through each step of this process and evaluate our officers' actions on Saturday night, as we do with each officer involved in a shooting.

• Ladies and gentlemen; we are the police, and we are sworn to protect and serve.

• It is easy for some to suggest the police cease these undercover drug operations, especially when the drug deals and gun violence is not at the end of their driveway

• These street level investigations help solve more serious crimes.

• In fact, these incidents are 'ground zero' for many of the murders that are taking place in our city. Our narcotics officers are going to be there - making buys and making arrests.

• We will not turn our backs on the good citizens, the law abiding citizens, who live in these neighborhoods that are most adversely affected by the street level drug dealers and gun carrying thugs.

• We have more good citizens than ever before calling us, calling Crime Stoppers, telling the police what they know. We want this partnership to continue.

• Please continue to do the right thing, and CALL THE POLICE whenever you suspect or witness criminal activity.

• Thank you