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State Attorney's Office rules Feb. 2020 officer-involved shooting in Jacksonville justified

John Ritter was shot after attempting to rob a man using a butcher knife, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Editor's Note: The video above is from a story dated Feb. 22, 2020.

A state investigation into the officer-involved shooting of John Ritter in February 2020 ruled the shooting was justified.

The shooting happened after Ritter allegedly tried to rob another man with a butcher knife in the area of  Bayview Avenue and Lem Turner Road, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said at the time.

"He was talking about robbing somebody and sticking with a butcher knife," a witness told First Coast News at the time. "He had a butcher knife about a foot long." 

The witness said he saw the man run across Lem Turner Road before getting inside of a car.

"The way he was acting and the way he talked ... he wanted money," the witness said. "And he was gonna get it any way he could."

When confronted by officers, Ritter attempted to escape on foot with the knife still in his hand as officers chaseed, police said at the time.

Officers told Ritter to drop the knife. When he refused, an officer tried to tase him, JSO said. However, when that did not work, police shot Ritter, according to police.

Ritter was injured, but not killed, in the shooting. No officers were injured in the incident.

A letter to JSO by the State Attorney's Office ruled the shooting justified following their investigation.

The State Attorney's Office released the following letter to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office:

"This letter is to advise you that our review of the shooting investigation of John Ritter is now complete. After full review by our Officer Involved Incident team, we have concluded that the shooting of John Ritter was justified under applicable Florida law. We will be providing a detailed report of our review to you in the near future. We are notifying you of our legal opinion now, though, so that you can take any internal or administrative actions that may be necessary. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Otherwise, we will forward to you our full written report once final."