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JSO Officer Shot Seven Times by Suspect Uses His Experience to Help Others

5:16 PM, Dec 22, 2010   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police have only a split second to make a life and death decision.

One local officer is sharing his story with others in the hope of saving an officer's life.

It's been nearly three years since JSO officer Jared Reston was shot, and he remembers every single second.

"He was gonna kill me without a doubt," said Reston.

Reston was shot seven times -- once in his face and elbow, twice in his legs and three times in his chest -- by a shoplifting suspect, 18-year-old Joel Abner.

Reston was working off-duty at Regency Square Mall Jan. 26, 2008, when he was asked to help catch Abner.

Reston first spotted him in the mall's parking lot.  "He sees me see him. He takes off running across the way."

Reston took us on the very path he ran that night. A path from the mall to across Atlantic Boulevard and a grassy area across the street from the mall.

Reston said within seconds that shoplifting suspect became an attempted cop killer.

"As soon as we give a couple knee strikes, I feel a large impact to my face. I never saw the gun. I didn't hear it."

Reston's jaw collapsed. The violent battle was just beginning.  "As I'm falling, I realize there is something more to this.  I need to get back in the fight, you're losing.  I look up and the suspect is standing over top of me and he is shooting.  When I saw that it angered me.  That's not how I'm gonna go out."

Reston said he only thought about one thing out there. "You go back to your training. Not my will to survive, my will to win kicks in."

It's something he said he's played over and over in his mind many times, even before this night.

"I got shot and I fell right there," Reston said, pointing to the spot in the grassy area.  "The suspect was standing here, standing over me shooting me.  The suspect began walking away, as he was walking he'd take shots at me. About right here is when he saw me sit up. He saw that sit up, that is when he started walking towards me firing."

Reston managed to deliver several fatal shots to Abner and then push himself to safety until help arrived.  "From first time I made contact with him to the end of the gun fight was probably ten seconds.  That's it.  I fired 14 times.  He fired 12 times.  It was violent.  It was fast."

Fourteen surgeries later, Reston was back at work and is now back on the SWAT team.  "He tried to kill me that night, but he's not gonna take my life afterwards."

Reston was involved in taking down murder suspect Christopher Kilgore in October.  It's the experiences out in the field he now shares with others who are faced with making split-second decisions between life and death.

"I try to help other officers develop this warrior mindset so they can survive an encounter like that."

Earlier this year, Officer Reston received the Medal of Valor.  Vice- President Joe Biden recognized Reston for his exceptional courage to save or protect others from harm.



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