Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Corey: Wendy's Shooting Justified; the Number of Shots Fired Was Not a Factor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Corey: Wendy's Shooting Justified; the Number of Shots Fired Was Not a Factor

Article excerpt

Byline: JIM SCHOETTLER

Prosecutors said Tuesday they found no criminal wrongdoing by five Jacksonville police officers who fired 42 shots at a robbery/carjacking suspect in March, killing the man and leaving a boy and his mother injured.

"Our determination here is not whether or not we think the police acted correctly in strategy, where they set up or the number of shots fired," said State Attorney Angela Corey. "Our analysis is whether they were justified in even pulling the trigger that first time. We concluded they were."

During an afternoon news conference, Corey gave five reasons the killing of Jeremiah Mathis on March 26 outside a Baymeadows Road Wendy's was justified under state law:

- Mathis was armed, had just robbed a bank and was attempting to carjack a vehicle to escape.

- The first responding officer ordered Mathis to stop and warned he would be shot if he didn't.

- That officer knew Mathis was armed and heard him threaten to kill Joann Cooper, the driver of the vehicle he sought to carjack.

- The first shots were fired knowing Mathis was violent, armed, refused to obey police and threatened to kill Cooper and/or police.

- The other officers acted to prevent Mathis from harming Cooper, police or other bystanders.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said during the news conference that witness Cordero Anderson, who told The Times-Union that he saw Mathis raise his hands outside the car's driver's door at one point as if to surrender, said under oath that he neither saw hands raised nor heard an offer to surrender. Neither did anyone else, de la Rionda said.

"He never put his hands up and never said [I] give up," de la Rionda said of Mathis.

However, a partial viewing de la Rionda gave the Times-Union of Anderson's videotaped statement shows Anderson at various points demonstrating how he saw bare hands being raised from the car. …

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