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Jacksonville deputies kill one, injure another during cellphone robbery investigation

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said police initiated an undercover operation after a man was robbed while trying to buy a cell phone. Police fired at three suspects.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One male is dead and another is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot by Jacksonville sheriff's deputies during an undercover robbery investigation Tuesday night. A third male is in custody, police say.

A person who arranged to buy an iPhone using a social media app told police he was robbed at gunpoint at 5:40 p.m. while trying to make the purchase in the 11200 block of Harts Road on Jacksonville's Northside.

T.K. Waters, JSO chief of investigations, said police responded to the call and set up an undercover operation to look for the suspected robbers in that same area. During the operation, Waters said officers made contact with three suspects in the 11500 block of Harts Road.

When officers attempted to arrest them, "a firearm was produced by those three suspects," Waters told reporters Tuesday at a news conference after the shooting. After ignoring officers' commands to drop the weapon, officers fired at the three males killing one, injuring another and arresting the third.

Names of the suspects were not released. Police said they were all in their late teens to early 20's. Waters said it's unknown if the officers were shot at.

Waters said the officers involved are R.W. Crotty, A. D. Henton and C.T. Cowan.

Crotty has been with JSO for 13-and-a-half years and the shooting marks his third officer-involved shooting.

Waters warned the public to be careful when setting up transactions and purchases with strangers via apps.

"I think it's very important that if you're making those kinds of transactions -- [know that] you can do it at any one of our substations, any time of day," he said. "That is the safest way."

A neighbor who lives across the street from the scene and wishes to stay anonymous said she heard the gunshots, but initially thought it was the crackling from her fireplace.

“The next thing we know, we see lights, police lights, the roads were all blocked off,” the neighbor said.

She said recent events have her worried enough to install a security system.

“The neighbors, we watch out for one another,” she said. “We try to keep our eyes open. Our houses our cars—if we know anything going on we tell one another.”

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