Police Briefs 9/28/17

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted 9/27/17

Federal agent shot in unprovoked drive-byOAKLEAF – Clay County authorities say an 18-year-old who was wanted on a narcotics charge ambushed and then shot a U.S. Customs and Border Protection …

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Police Briefs 9/28/17


Federal agent shot in unprovoked drive-by

OAKLEAF – Clay County authorities say an 18-year-old who was wanted on a narcotics charge ambushed and then shot a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Tuesday afternoon in the Oakleaf Commons shopping center.

Chief Wayne McKinney with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said Thomas Jacob Lewis, IV, 18, ambushed the agent while he was walking to his vehicle with groceries he had just purchased at Publix. The name of the agent has been withheld and he is in critical condition.

McKinney said the agent was shot multiple times as Lewis drove by. Police said Lewis continued driving away from the scene and apparently shot himself. He died at the scene.

Lewis then continued driving down the lane in the parking lot where he fired an apparent deadly, self-inflicted wound before his vehicle crashed into other parked cars. The shooting took place at 1075 Oakleaf Plantation Parkway around 3:11 p.m., police said.

The agent, who was wearing his federal uniform, was shot in the abdomen, police said.

“We’re not exactly sure what the motive was behind this,” McKinney said. “The officer was wearing police clothing, a badge and a shoulder holster.”

The agent, who works in the Air and Marine Operations of the Border Protection was transported to a local hospital where he went through surgery to remove the bullet.

Home invasion, kidnapping charge for Jax man

ORANGE PARK – A Jacksonville man faces charges of home invasion robbery with a firearm and kidnapping after a two-month investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Police arrested Christopher Brian Hawley, 42, on Sept. 22 and booked him onto the Clay County Sheriff’s Office where his bond is set at $400,006.

According to the arrest warrant, Hawley, who is also the victim’s former roommate, and a man unknown to the victim went to the victim’s home on July 20 where “they had some drinks and watched television.” The victim said Hawley and his friend left only to return “a short time later knocking on the front door.”

Police said when the victim opened the door, Hawley and his friend wielded handguns and forced their way back into his home. The man unknown to the victim held a gun to the victim’s head and, with Hawley, used cables to tie the victim’s hands and feet together to prevent him from leaving his home.

According to the warrant, Hawley and his accomplice ransacked the victim’s pockets and stole his wallet, which contained numerous bank cards and credit cards before forcing the victim to give him his bank ATM PIN number. They also stole a flat screen television and escaped through the front door.

After Hawley and his friend left, the victim crawled to the kitchen to grab a knife he used to cut the cables and go next door where he got a neighbor to call the CCSO.

At press time, Hawley remained in jail.

Traffic stop ends in meth charges

ORANGE PARK – A recent traffic stop by the Florida Highway Patrol resulted in two arrests for possession of methamphetamine and other drug-related charges.

The investigation began when an FHP officer saw Alexander leigh Hunt, 33, of Jacksonville, driving southbound on Blanding Boulevard not wearing a seatbelt. When the officer stopped Hunt in the Big Lots parking lot, he said Hunt was exhibiting signs that were indicative of drug use, such as twitching fingers, sweating profusely and constricted pupils.

Seeing probable cause, the officer got Hunt’s permission to search the vehicle, which resulted in used drug syringes, plastic baggies both empty and filled with methamphetamine. The officer also found additional drugs in the trunk of the vehicle.

A passenger in the car, Brandon Railey, 25, of Gainesville, was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, trafficking methamphetamine, selling synthetic narcotics, possession of synthetic narcotics with intent to sell, possession of heroin with intent to sell. At press time, he remained in the Clay County Jail where his bond is set at $175,015.

Hunt was only charged with producing meth and a probation violation. He also remained in jail without bond.

Grand theft auto charge for Doctors Inlet woman

DOCTORS INLET – A December 2016 vehicle theft ended last week with the arrest of a Clay County woman.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Carly Michelle Cocozzo, 31, of Doctors Inlet, on Sept. 22 after obtaining a warrant for her arrest.

According to the warrant, Cocozzo stole the Dodge Journey from her mother’s home in the 1600 block of Evergreen Lane East after she asked to get into the vehicle to get her phone charger. After a few minutes, the victim said she went outside to check on Cocozzo and found the vehicle and her daughter gone.

Police said Cocozzo “is a heavy drug user and has not been allowed to live at this home for over a year,” states the warrant. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office found the vehicle unoccupied with the keys left in it on December 27, 2016 in Duval County.

At press time, Cocozzo remained in the Clay County Jail where her bond is set at $7,503.

Man charged after striking wife and son

MIDDLEBURG – Authorities charged a Middleburg man with separate counts of domestic battery and child abuse without great harm after a drunken spree of yelling and arguing.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Theodore Lee Jeffers Jr., 45, on Sept. 23 after they responded to the home in the 1800 block of Hereford Road.

According to the police report, Jeffers was “extremely intoxicated and began yelling and arguing with everyone in the residence,” states the report.

Police said one of Jeffers’ two children then got up and attempted to get Jeffers to stop yelling, but when the child did that, Jeffers yelled at the male child, swung his fist and ended up striking his wife in the nose.

A fist fight then ensued in which Jeffers received ended up with a swollen right eye and a bloody nose.

He was booked into the Clay County Jail, where at press time, he remained held on $5,775 bond.

ESE assistant resigns after coke charge

ORANGE PARK – The Clay County School Board officially accepted the resignation of a Ridgeview High School ESE behavioral health assistant at the Sept. 26 meeting after she turned herself in to authorities on cocaine possession charges.

Clay County School District spokeswoman Nicole Snyder said Stephanie Anne Murphy, 33, of Middleburg resigned days after an investigation was launched on Sept. 6 by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Police were called to the school after Vice Principal Mark McKinney said he saw a small plastic bag containing a white powdered substance when he was walking down the hallway in the high school’s administration building.

McKinney turned over the plastic bag to school resource officer Brock Gump who conducted the investigation.

According to the arrest warrant, the white substance tested positive for .09 grams of cocaine.

“We take instances like these seriously and this type of behavior will not be tolerated in Clay County Schools,” Snyder said. “All employees go through a rigorous background screening process before they are hired to ensure the safety of our students, which is our greatest priority.”

Snyder said Murphy has worked at the school for six years.

“An investigation was conducted from the district’s behalf following claims that this employee was in possession of cocaine on campus. And the employee was questioned and asked to take a mandatory drug test, which she refused to do,” Snyder said.

Within days of refusing the drug test, Snyder said, Murphy resigned.

“We don’t tolerate this type of behavior. Anytime an employee brings any type of unlawful items on campus, were not going to tolerate that,” Snyder said.

Murphy was booked into the Clay County Jail on Sept. 19 and has since been released on $2,003 bond.

Meanwhile, the school board will take up Murphy’s resignation at its Sept. 28 monthly meeting.


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