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JSO SWAT suspect in police custody

1:43 PM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
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  • JSO Annie Smith speaking at the Friday JSO press conference.

Update, 1/3/14, 2 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville man recovering from a gunshot wound to the head is facing aggravated assault charges after an eight hour standoff with police Thursday.

JSO received a call at 11:32 a.m. regarding an armed battery in progress in the 8400 block of Herlong Road, according to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief of Investigations, Annie Smith. About 10 minutes later, a woman called police claiming her brother was threatening to shoot and kill their mother and then kill himself.

At 12:53 p.m., shots were heard being fired inside the Herlong Road home, Smith detailed. The residence is not far from Normandy Village Elementary School.

Police on scene found out 45-year-old Gary Schiwart was barricaded inside of his home. According to Smith, Schiwart continued to call police, threatening to shoot anyone who came on his property. A JSO special weapons and tactics team (SWAT) and hostage negotiators responded to the home due to the continued threats.

"Throughout the day, negotiators were attempting to get the suspect to surrender peacefully," Smith detailed. JSO teams provided Schiwart with instructions on how to do so, instead police said Schiwart fired shots at a SWAT police ballistics vehicle. Four officers fired back.

JSO Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda held a news briefing at 2:35 p.m. providing an update on the then-developing situation. Bujeda stated Schiwart's mother was in the home when the first shots were fired and his mother believed they were intended for her. She was able to safely escape her son.

Around 3:30 p.m. about a dozen people were evacuated out of their homes while police worked with Schiwart. Most stood outside the scene peppered with the two SWAT trucks, mobile crime unit, bomb truck and dozens of cruisers. One man said he had just gone grocery shopping. "Who is going to pay for my groceries?" A nearby daycare was also evacuated during the standoff.

As the situation unfolded, police continued to attempt to negotiate with Schiwart. He presented himself with a firearm to police two more times, according to Smith. After the third engagement with police, Schiwart surrendered peacefully, Smith stated.

Schiwart was taken into police custody before 4:30 p.m. with a head injury. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue evaluated Schiwart on scene and transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Schiwart is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was scheduled to appear before a judge Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. Schiwart's prior offenses include disorderly intoxication and multiple DUIs.

There is no known motive for the incident at this time.

The four officers who fired shots during the incident are identified by Smith as M. W Crawford, D. R. Hurley, D. J. Gianakas and N. A. Rodgers.

Other charges against Shiwart are pending at this time, said Smith at the Friday JSO press conference.

First Coast News

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