Officer involved shooting suspect's family says he was fighting depression

Officer-involved shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --The family of a man shot by a JSO officer Thursday morning says the suspect was battling depression.

Police identified 29-year-old Jacob Depetris as breaking and entering into the home of his ex-girlfriend’s parents with a shotgun.

While carrying the gun, and a bottle of liquor, police say he went through the house shouting that the people inside would die. Authorities say the male relative located a weapon and was able to get out of the house, but the female relative inside was locked inside a bathroom.  Witnesses told police Depetris kicked in a bathroom door where the female relative was hiding and put the shotgun to her head and attempted to fire it. 

JSO Undersheriff Pat Ivey said DePetris tried to fire multiple times.

“For some reason, his weapon did not work.  [The suspect] had a fully functioning, proven weapon that would fire, shooting into the home,” said Ivey. “And then for some reason, divine intervention, whatever you want to call it, his weapon did not fire again.”

According to the police report, Officer Howard Smith responded to the scene of the reported home invasion.  Police say Smith confronted Depetris and ordered him to drop his weapon.  After repeated refusals, Ivey said the suspect raised the weapon toward the officer and Smith fired twice, fatally wounding Depetris.

Depetris’ father said he believes his son created the chaotic scene so that police could take his life.

“He was searching for anyone to care about him,” said Jimmy Depetris, Jacob Depetris’ father.

Jimmy described the one minute call he received just after his son broke into the house belonging to his ex-girlfriend's parents.

“I said Jake, are you crazy. I said, go outside and put that gun down,” recalled Jimmy. “[Jacob] goes, ‘no Dad, I can't live anymore, they've taken my world away.”

Jimmy said his son battled with severe depression and alcohol abuse, and a tense custody dispute over his three-year-old daughter are what Jimmy believes sent Jacob over the edge. 

“The last thing he heard was you won't ever see her again until you get a court order,” said Jimmy. “That was it for him, if he couldn't have [his daughter], he wouldn't want to live anymore.”

Late yesterday, he says he discovered a journal in his son's apartment.

One entry states, 'I'm broken today, it's the last day that I can breathe...I will die today.' Jimmy believes these were his son’s last words.

Despite Jacob’s struggles, his parent’s say they don't blame the officer.

“I apologize for [the officer] having to live with it, I apologize,” said Jimmy on what he would say to Officer Smith. “I would never want you and your family to go through that, and I thank the Lord above that [Jacob] didn't hurt you.”

Services will be held for Jacob Depetris on Wednesday at 6pm at Hewlett Funeral Home and on Thursday at 1pm at Good Samaritan Church on Main Street in Jacksonville.

Officer Smith remains on administrative leave which Ivey said is standard procedure. 


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