JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An eviction at an apartment on Jacksonville's Westside turned deadly when two officers shot and killed a man following a struggle over a gun Tuesday morning, police said.
The man has been identified by a family attorney as D'Angelo Reyes Stallworth, 28, of Jacksonville.
The officers were enforcing an eviction notice previously served at the Planters Walk apartments, located in the 7300 block of Blanding Boulevard, about 9:55 a.m. when they spotted Stallworth outside on the apartment's shared patio, JSO Investigations Director Tom Hackney said.
While investigators were speaking with him, Stallworth allegedly picked up a handgun from underneath a comforter and jammed it into one officer's chest, prompting the officer to shout that the man had a gun, Director Hackney said. That's when officers started wrestling with him over the weapon.
"Somewhere in the course of wrestling for the gun, the suspect had dropped (the weapon)," Hackney said at a news conference Tuesday evening.
At some point, according to police, Stallworth broke free of the officers' grasps and fled down some nearby stairs before turning back to face police. That's when the officers, fearing for their safety and that of two maintenance workers with them, opened fire, police said.
"They may not have realized at the point he turned toward them that the gun had come apart," Hackney said.
One officer fired two shots while the other fired four. It's not yet clear exactly how many of those shots hit Stallworth. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to JSO.
Eric Block, a local attorney, disputed the police account ahead of Hackney's news conference and said the version of events outlined by Hackney didn't add up.
Afterward, two jars containing about 126 grams of marijuana were found at the scene, police said. A semi-automatic Smith and Wesson gun was recovered on the patio near where the struggle with police took place and a magazine was found near the bottom of the steps where Stallworth died, according to Hackney.
"The gun and its proximity to the drugs is not surprising," he said. "Guns, drugs and violence go together, as we've seen here."
Asked whether Stallworth had his back turned to police when they shot him, Hackney said he did not know, citing the active investigation and the preliminary details available at the time of the news conference Tuesday. Hackney would only confirm that Stallworth had been shot at least once in the thigh and once in the ribs.
An autopsy by the Medical Examiner's Office is set for Wednesday.
Hackney offered his condolences to Stallworth's family, but remained unequivocal about who is to blame.
"Had you not picked up that gun and...pointed it at officers, you could be going about your merry way" instead of lying there waiting to be retrieved by the Medical Examiner's Officer, he said.
The officers involved, identified by Hackney as 25-year veteran Steve Srozinksi and 24-year veteran Troy Blum, will be placed on paid leave, which is standard procedure for police shootings. Neither has been involved in a prior shooting, the Times-Union reports.
Stallworth had been previously arrested for domestic battery on a pregnant woman in November 2010, jail records show.