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26 Nov, 2014 18:22

Cop fires shots at Florida man rushing home during daughter’s asthma attack

Cop fires shots at Florida man rushing home during daughter’s asthma attack

A Jacksonville sheriff fired shots at an unarmed suspect during a traffic incident on Monday, but will not be placed on leave. Officer J.C. Garcia shot at Brian Dennison as the latter was rushing his daughter home in the midst of an asthma attack.

According to the police report, Garcia spotted Dennison’s vehicle speeding through a parking lot, then through a stop sign before nearly hitting another car and driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Dennison also drove away from a bank machine when Garcia pulled up from behind, the officer claimed.

Garcia, a five-year police veteran, pursued Dennison’s green Ford to an apartment complex, where the officer opened fired believing Dennison had a gun, First Coast News reported. He diverted shots once he realized Dennison, 29, was unarmed.

Dennison then explained that he was rushing home to get his six-year-old daughter her medication, as she was in the throes of an asthma attack.

The mother of Dennison’s daughter said Dennison held his hands outside the window of the car to prove he was unarmed. She added that her daughter was shaken by the incident.

“She just thought that they were going to shoot her, and she was afraid for her dad,” Nacoya Ransom told Jacksonville.com.

Dekierian Cook, Dennison’s cousin, overheard the shooting.

"I think he just shot to shoot, you know,” he told First Coast News. “There's really no reason."

Cook said Dennison’s daughter has “really bad allergies.”

Dennison was eventually arrested on misdemeanor charges of knowingly driving with a suspended license and driving with a suspended license. He is being held on nearly $2,000 bail at the Duval County Jail.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office did not mention the shooting in its original police report. A separate investigation was opened to address the shots fired, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) spokesperson Melissa Bujeda.

JSO’s Cold Case Unit will handle the second incident report, according to First Coast News, yet that report offers little explanation as to why Garcia opened fire.

“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 brief report states.

The shooting was the first for Garcia, who has not been placed on leave.

"Being placed on leave is not automatic for every situation. It is up to staff to determine what will be done. Each investigation is unique and investigated as such," Bujeda told First Coast News.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Jacksonville police fatally shot a man resisting arrest following a traffic stop.

Driving with expired tags and a suspended license, Leonardo Marquette Little, 33, attempted to flee the scene with one handcuff on, according to police. Officer Cecil Grant used his Taser on Little three times before he said Little took control of the non-lethal weapon. Grant then shot and killed Little, according to Jacksonville.com.