JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man who entered a business Thursday morning along Southside Boulevard carrying a handgun was arrested following a situation that led to the SWAT team being dispatched, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
T.K. Waters, chief of investigations with the Sheriff’s Office, said the man entered the business at approximately 11:25 a.m., where the man became agitated. Waters said the man asked all the employees and a few of the customers to leave the business, asking them to call police. One employee, Waters said, did not leave.
“While in that business, he was kind of erratic. There wasn’t much going on other than him saying, ‘call the police, call the police,’” Waters said.
At that point, Waters said, the police were called and they spoke with the employee that remained inside the business. Waters said the employee began having a conversation with the man, making him “feel more comfortable.”
“She (the employee) took that opportunity to walk through the business and exit safely,” Waters said.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said her quick thinking may have saved lives.
“If everyone panicked, it could have caused him to overreact — particularly with a weapon,” Jefferson said. “They realized that this man had a weapon and there was no telling what he was going to do.”
Waters noted that after everyone had left the business, the man fired a shot outside one of the windows and two shots into the ceiling of the business.
After a couple of hours of discussions with a crisis negotiator, the man was taken into custody. He was identified as Gabriel Campla, 33.
The JSO team who took the man into custody was identified as Officer Cheth Plaugher and his K9 partner, Huk.
A News4JAX crew at Southside and Hogan said dozens of patrol officers were visible with more and more SWAT officers arriving throughout the afternoon. A police helicopter was up in the air as well as drones. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel were also staging nearby.
The FBI also confirmed it was on the scene.
Ben Kingsbury, the owner of Gotham City Limit, who was a few doors down from where the incident was taking place described the situation to News4JAX.
He said he could see more than a dozen officers in armored vests and a sniper lying in the middle of Southside Boulevard.
“We were not aware of it until it had all started and the cops started blocking the street off,” Kingsbury said.
He also saw helicopters circling and said officers were yelling at everyone in the area to take cover inside businesses.
“Absolutely crazy day,” he said. “I’m happy and fortunate nothing happened to anyone.”
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