Two Charged After Jacksonville Strip Mall Shooting

Police have arrested two men and charged them with second-degree attempted murder after a shooting spree in a commercial strip center parking lot, The Florida Times-Union reports.

Charges of attempted murder in Jacksonville can sometimes be grossly exaggerated by police officers. The line between aggravated battery and attempted murder sometimes is razor thin and yet there is a large disparity between the possible punishments.Filing decisions made by prosecutors after gathering information aren’t set in stone and an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer may sometimes be able to talk things over with the prosecutor, pointing out problems with the case and be able to get charges reduced before trial. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out and only a trial can sort out the true facts.

In this case, a 19-year-old and 25-year-old were arrested by police after allegedly participating in the recent shooting. Officers were working an undercover operation when they heard gunfire, the newspaper reports.

After looking in that direction, officers said they saw one of the men fire a pistol at the other. As the alleged victim of that shooting ran away, he was picked up in a Chevrolet Impala and he began firing back. The initial shooter ran away.

Police pulled over the Impala. Later, a man suffering from gunshot wounds walked into a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The newspaper previously reported that three people were in custody, though they only announced two arrests.

In cases where there is a shootout between individuals, officers will usually look to see if there are gang ties between the alleged shooters to try to find the bad blood between them. Detectives will hit up their neighborhoods and try to find witnesses — providing first-hand knowledge or not — who can try to paint a picture of why the two would be willing to shooting each other.

If they get any hint of a reason to prove this wasn’t a chance meeting and perhaps it was a one-time argument over something, police may consider charging the suspects with attempted murder.

As Florida Statutes 782.051 reads, attempted murder is committing a felony and during the commission of that felony committing an intentional act that could kill another person. It can be charged as a first- or second-degree felony. That means a person could face up to life in prison, if convicted.

But aggravated battery, according to Florida Statutes 784.045, means committing a battery with a deadly weapon. This means causing great bodily harm, disability or disfigurement with a deadly weapon. It is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Police must prove that a person was committing another felony when they attempted to kill someone to prove attempted murder. To prove aggravated battery, they could show that a person simply was shooting at another person. But police often arrest people on a charge that is the highest penalized, knowing that prosecutors could reduce the charges once they get the case report.

And a qualified Jacksonville defense attorney will then look at the evidence and it will be his job to look at the police reports, witness statements, ballistics tests, crime scene evidence and reports and other evidence provided by the state to ensure a defendant’s rights are upheld and that they aren’t over-charged by the state.

The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

More Blog Entries:

Branan Field Road Shootings Lead to Arrest of Jacksonville Man: October 2, 2011
Additional Resources:

Jacksonville shooting ends in the arrest of 2, by Dan Scanlan, The Florida Times-Union
Jacksonville police in right place at right time for shooting; 1 injured, 3 in custody, by Drew Dixon, Florida Times-Union

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