JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Elisa Brown and her husband Dennis have lived on Buttercup Street in Jacksonville for 14 years. They say they’ve never seen anything like what they witnessed Tuesday, when they watched JSO officers and a bank robbery suspect exchange gunshots.
“It was terrible out here,” Elisa told First Coast News.
First Elisa, then Dennis ran out of the house when first they heard the getaway car crash in to the mailbox in front of 8184 Buttercup St. two doors away. She describes what she heard – and saw - next.
“Gunshots, and the cops saying ‘Get down, put the gun down!’,” followed by “And then they started shooting and [the suspect] fell to the ground.”
In all, she says she heard eight or nine rounds fired, but isn’t sure how many were from police and how many were from the suspect. Dennis says he’s certain the first loud bang they heard was the car impact.
“I was trying to tell her not to run out there right now,” Dennis says he cautioned his wife, “because of the gunshots going off.”
One of those shots hit 11-year JSO veteran officer Jeremy Mason, a K9 unit and dive team specialist, in the jaw. Officer Mason was transported to a hospital but his injuries were not considered life-threatening.
“Afterwards, he was walking around and went to the ambulance,” Elisa Brown said. “I did not hear nothing he said but I know that he was talking because I seen his mouth moving over there.”
The suspect, Michael Harris of Jacksonville, died in the shootout. He was a suspect in a previous bank robbery as well. Elisa Brown confirms that she watched him fall to the ground and die.
“Yes, and it was very terrible,” she said, “I’ve never seen nothing like that and it was terrible.”
“I knew he was [dead],” she continued. “ I looked on the ground. I have video of him on the ground there, and there was no movement in his – he was not breathing.”
Asked what she was thinking and feeling as a life-and-death battle played out before her eyes, Elisa says she was questioning herself.
“Should I be in this? Should I be looking at this? I was scared,” she said. “We don’t have crime like that here, we never have.”