Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer J.C. Garcia fired his weapon at an unarmed man who was rushing to get home because his 6-year-old daughter was having an asthma attack. Brian Dennison reports that he had just stepped outside of his vehicle when the officer approached him. He says that he had his hands up in an attempt to show that he was unarmed. As Dennison tried to explain the medical emergency to the officer, he says that the officer continued walking toward him and then took a shot at him despite the fact that he was holding his daughter. Investigators report that Garcia thought that Dennison was armed with a small handgun.
Authorities are disputing that Dennison was holding his daughter when the officer opened fire. A police report indicates that Garcia began pursuing Dennison’s vehicle when he saw it speeding through a parking lot. The report also states that Dennison ignored a stop sign and drove the wrong way down a one way street. Garcia followed Dennison to an apartment complex before he stopped his vehicle.
The Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office failed to mention the shooting in the original police report. A second incident report was written after a separate investigation was opened regarding the shots fired but does not include much explanation about why Garcia fired his weapon at Dennison. The brief report simply states, “On 11-24-14, a JSO Patrol Officer conducted a traffic stop on a suspicious vehicle at 3900 Toledo Rd. During the traffic stop the officer fired his handgun one time. No one was injured. The Cold Case Unit will follow up the investigation.”
The little girl’s mother, Nacoya Ransom, says that her daughter was shaken up by the incident, stating, “She just thought that they were going to shoot her, and she was afraid for her dad. Family member Dekierian Cook heard the shooting and believes that the officer did not have a reason for firing his weapon stating, “I think he just shot to shoot.” Garcia has not been placed on leave.