Clay County burglary now a death investigation

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- What started as a quick stop at a Clay County gas station for a drink, has ended in a homicide investigation.

A Middleburg man pulled into a gas station in Green Cove Springs, parked in front of the convenience store and went inside.

When he left the Race Trac store in the 3100 block of Highway 17, he noticed two chain saws missing from his truck bed and saw the car that was parked next to him pulling out of the lot, according to a police report from the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

The victim followed the car North on Highway 17 and was able to convince the driver of the car, a silver Volkswagen, to pull over at the entrance of the Margret's Walk subdivision, the report detailed.

According to the report, two of the suspects, identified as 41-year-old Jason Kent and 32-year-old Nathan Charles Ross, attempted to flee. Kent was described in the police report as "severely intoxicated" and allegedly fought with the victim and his two passengers before law enforcement arrived. The victim physically detained the car's occupants, the report detailed.

When deputies arrived on scene, two of the suspects were injured. It appears it was because they allegedly attempted to run away while the victim was waiting for deputies to arrive. The injured suspects, Kent and Ross, were evaluated by Fire Rescue on scene. Kent was transported to the Orange Park Medical Center for treatment of visible injuries prior to booking. Kent was transported to UF Health Jacksonville due to the extent of his injuries, where he later died.

Ross, and 29-year-old passenger Jarrod Romani were both arrested and charged with burglary to an auto unarmed without a person inside.

Deputies recovered the two chain saws from the scene and returned them to the victim.

Detectives with Clay County Sheriff's Office homicide are investigating Kent's death.


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