Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fatal Shooting Deemed Justified Officer under Attack before Firing, Police Say

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fatal Shooting Deemed Justified Officer under Attack before Firing, Police Say

Article excerpt

Byline: Veronica Chapin, Times-Union staff writer

********** CORRECTION July 3, 2002

The chief of detectives for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Frank Mackesy, said a Sunday shooting of a 25-year-old man by officer Billy Kreeger Jr. was in self defense. Because of an editor's error, a headline was incorrect on Page B-1 yesterday.

**************

The Jacksonville police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man at a housing development Sunday evening acted in self-defense, the Sheriff's Office chief of detectives said yesterday.

But residents of the housing complex, family and people who knew the 25-year-old victim said they were stunned by the shooting and questioned the officer's justification and tactics.

Andre Jontue Lamar was killed after he and another man attacked the officer, who was working off duty at the housing complex, Chief Frank Mackesy said.

Officer Billy Kreeger Jr. was hit numerous times after Lamar and Bernard Lamar Jordan began fighting him at the complex in the 3400 block of Brentwood Avenue about 6 p.m., Mackesy said. The altercation started because Jordan wanted to use a computer in the officer's patrol car or one in the police stop station, he said. Their motive for the outburst hasn't been revealed, Mackesy said.

Kreeger pulled out his baton and called for backup when the argument began escalating outside. He attempted to place Jordan, 25, under arrest. Jordan got him in a bear hug and began punching him, Mackesy said. Lamar jumped in and the officer was struck about 20 times before firing his gun, Mackesy said.

Kreeger shot twice, killing Lamar at the scene. Kreeger received first aid for a split lip and minor injuries.

Lynn Bonnett called Lamar her god-brother and said she had known him from childhood.

"He was a good-natured person," she said. "He [Kreeger] didn't have to shoot him. …

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