Police SUV Containing Detained Black Man Shot 32 Times after Sound of Acorn Mistaken for Gunshot 

By Praniti Gulyani 

OKALOOSA, FL— In November 2023, Deputy Jesse Hernandez from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office—along with his partner, Sgt. Beth Roberts—discharged firearms into the back of their own patrol vehicle, after Hernandez heard the sound of an acorn fall on his patrol vehicle and mistook it for a gunshot.

According to a plaintiff’s press release, both officers—armed with Sig Sauer P320 pistols—completely discharged their pistols, leading to at least 32 rounds being fired at the police SUV which contained Marquis Jackson—a young Black Florida resident who had just been detained and handcuffed for allegedly stealing a car and sending threatening messages to his girlfriend.

Despite the gunfire, Jackson was not hit, said his attorneys.

Jackson, alongside his attorney DeWitt Lacy, a partner at the law firm Burris Nisenbaum Curry & Lacy (BNCL), last week announced a notice of intention to file a major lawsuit against Okaloosa County.

Jackson described an “irrevocable damage to his psyche” and said, “Not a day goes by where something won’t trigger a memory of that day, the fear I felt laying handcuffed in the back of that police car being shot at. I also have nightmares, just reliving that moment over and over.”

According to Jackson, the officers insisted on “shooting out all the windows of the patrol car before they would approach” while he lay handcuffed on the back seat of the car.

The officers continued to ask Jackson to “raise his hands” even though his hands were handcuffed, according to Jackson’s press statement that added,  “This physical impossibility heightened the surreal terror of the moment.”

Even though a couple of months have passed since the incident, the trauma from the experience—along with a “haunting fear of death,” the statement stated, continues to haunt Jackson even today.

Recounting the onslaught of gunfire, he stated, “Memories and thoughts of my family and mom kept racing through my head; I thought I was going to die.”

Attorney Lacy said, “This was a reckless display of capricious lethal force from the Okaloosa officers, the officers had no legal or factual justification for their overwhelming use of deadly force,” adding the incident also endangered the lives of residents of five homes within 200 yards of the shootout.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for