The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office released bodycam footage Tuesday showing the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old, who was wielding a machete, on July 4, 2020.
The incident unfolded around 9:45 p.m. at 4635 Monroe Smith Road when a woman called 9-1-1 to report that Alex Perez had fallen off some steps outside and was unconscious, according to newly released 9-1-1 audio. The woman informed the dispatcher that Perez appeared to be throwing fireworks before he jumped.
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel arrived on the scene to provide medical care when a witness informed them that Perez had regained consciousness and was “acting crazy and running around.” While fire and rescue personnel were speaking with the witness, Perez allegedly emerged from behind a parked vehicle with a machete and chased the personnel, forcing them to flee into a nearby wooded area and call police.
“This guy has got a machete,” one of the responding personnel said in the 9-1-1 call.
“We’re not in any danger right now, but there are four or five other people that are being chased by this guy,” he continued during the audio.
An unidentified officer arrived on the scene at 9:58 p.m., and was told by another witness Perez was armed and “acting crazy.” The officer can be seen standing in front of the residence calling for backup when Perez emerges from the house holding a machete. The officer yells “drop it” before firing two shots, fatally striking Perez. (RELATED: Police Release Bodycam Footage Of 12- And 14-Year-Olds Opening Fire After Breaking Into Home And Finding Weapons)
Yesenia Soriano, who was at the incident, said Perez was acting crazy and chased her, according to WJXT 4. “Then he was coming at me with a machete,” she said. “And after that, I just heard some gun shooting.”
Soriano explained that she understood why police had to shoot Perez but that “they should have found another way.” At least they could have shot him in the left or tase him, in my opinion, because it was just a kid,” she added.
Florida’s State Attorney’s Office ruled the use of deadly force was justified in January, according to WJXT 4. “Our courts are reluctant to substitute hindsight for on-the-spot, split-second decisions made by officers in the line of duty,” the ruling reportedly stated.