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[UPDATE] Appeals Court Ruling in Tallahassee Police Shootout

By: Alyssa Orange; Heather Biance;Julie Montanaro Email
By: Alyssa Orange; Heather Biance;Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro
March 18, 2013

The First District Court of Appeals has reversed two of Jerome Ferrier's convictions and ordered he get a new trial on those charges.

Ferrier was accused of opening fire on Tallahassee Police and Leon County Sheriff's Deputies back on Memorial Day 2010. A deputy was shot, but survived. Another bullet lodged in a police officer's holster.

Ferrier was convicted of six counts of attempted first degree murder and two counts of attempted second degree murder. Ferrier was sentenced to eight life sentences.

Yet the appeals court now says there was an error in the jury instructions for the attempted second degree murder charges. It reversed those convictions and threw out the two life sentences that came with them.

It affirmed the convictions and sentences for the first degree murder charges.

Prosecutor Jon Fuchs says, "He'll spend the rest of his life in prison anyway. He still has six life sentences."

Fuchs says since the court just issued its ruling this morning, the state attorney has not yet made a decision about whether they'll re-try Ferrier on the attempted second degree murder charges.


UPDATE 9-13-2011

Jerome Ferrier has been sentenced to life in prison for a shoout with deputies on Memorial Day 2010.

Judge Charles Dodson sentenced Ferrier to eight life sentences for firing on deputies that day.

Ferrier was found guilty last week of six counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of attempted second degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Ferrier's defense team says it plans to appeal.

State attorney Jon Fuchs says he's pleased with the sentence as were the deputies involved in the shootout with Ferrier.

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UPDATED 9.12.2011 10:15am by Julie Montanaro

Jerome Ferrier will be sentenced Tuesday, September 13th at 4pm.
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UPDATED 9.9.2011 7pm by Julie Montanaro

The lieutenant shot in a Memorial Day shootout is speaking out today in the wake of a guilty verdict.

Last night, a jury found Jerome Ferrier guilty of opening fire on deputies and officers who surrounded his Tallahassee apartment last year.

LT Barry Blackburn was the only one shot that day.

He says he is happy with the verdict ... and the mandatory life sentence that will come with it.

"Going into the trial, I just wanted to have some assurance that another deputy at some point would not have to deal with this same subject again. Knowing now that he's going to have a life sentence and there's no chance of any other law enforcement officer having to deal with him other than a correctional officer, is a good feeling," Blackburn said.

Blackburn was shot in the shoulder and says he has no lasting physical effects from it.

"I was back to work in a week and just fortunate that it didn't hit any bones or major nerves or anything I needed," Blackburn said.

He knows if that bullet hit an inch or two either way could have been a completely different story.

"It gives me a sense of pride in the people I work with and I feel very lucky that things were not worse," Blackburn said "and it really helps you to continue to appreciate every day."

Ferrier will be sentenced next week for attempted murder and aggravated assault. Prosecutors tell us it carries a mandatory life sentence.
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Update 9-8-2011 9:49pm

A jury has come back with a verdict in the case against Jerome Ferrier. He has been found guilty on six of the seven first degree attempted murder charges, and two of the three attempted second degree murder charges.

Ferrier has also been found guilty on two charges of first degree assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm. The defense attorney argued Ferrier was essentially standing his ground the day seven deputies surrounded his house with guns drawn. They went to check on him after he sent his ex-girlfriend a picture of himself with a gun to his head. The gunfight that followed left a lieutenant shot in the shoulder, Ferrier in jail and his apartment riddled with bullets.

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UPDATE 9-8-2011 8:30pm

WCTV has made calls and have found out the jury continues to deliberate on the case.

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UPDATED 9.8.2011 7pm by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man accused in a Memorial Day shootout is now awaiting a verdict. Jerome Ferrier is facing 10 counts of attempted murder.

"I am not going to testify," Ferrier said as he stood up and addressed the judge.

"You are not going to testify?"

"No, sir."

"Any additional questions about that?" asked judge Charles Dodson.

"No sir."

Jerome Ferrier told the judge he did not want to testify and the ex-girlfriend whose concern for him prompted deputies to go his apartment in the first place didn't show up to testify.

The only witness for the defense? The lieutenant who was shot while taking cover in Ferrier's front yard. He was called back to the stand.

"I asked LT Blackburn was there anything that would have prevented you from obtaining a warrant, and he said no," defense attorney Leonard Holton argued. "He was where he had a right to be and not doing anything illegal."

The defense attorney argued Ferrier was essentially standing his ground the day seven deputies surrounded his house with guns drawn. They went to check on him after he sent his ex-girlfriend a picture of himself with a gun to his head. The gunfight that followed left a lieutenant shot in the shoulder, Ferrier in jail and his apartment riddled with bullets.

"For all the ammunition, I think we were talkig 80 to 90 shell casings and projectiles," said then crime scene deputy Pat McLeod. McLeod said there were as many as 40 bullet holes inside.

Jurors got to see a series of photos that showed dozens of yellow evidence markers amidst the blood on the floor of Ferrier's apartment.

They also got a look at the 9mm pistol that Ferrier is accused of firing that day.

Now they'll have to decide if Ferrier's trigger-pulling is tantamount to attempted murder on ten law enforcement officers.

The jury started deliberating at about five minutes to 6. We'll let you know when it reaches a verdict.

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UPDATED 9.8.2011 6:25pm by Julie Montanaro

The jury started deliberating in the case at about 5:55pm.

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September 8, 2011 2pm by Julie Montanaro

The defense has rested its case.

It called just one witness to the stand. It recalled LT Barry Blackburn who was shot during the exchange of gunfire. Blackburn described in greater detail where he was and what he was doing when he was shot.

Blackburn says he was kneeling behind a tree right near the front steps. He says he could not see who was firing the shots but he had no doubt they were coming from the front door. Blackburn says after the first batch of shots was fired, it got quiet. That's when he said he peered out from behind the tree and got shot.

The defense attorney them went into the hallway to call his next witness, Ferrier's ex-girlfriend. She was the one who initially went to the sheriff's office and reported that Ferrier had sent her a picture of himself with a gun to his head.

Leonard Holton returned alone. He told the judge the woman was not there as instructed and announced that the defense had rested its case.

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September 8, 2011 1:30pm by Julie Montanaro

The judge refused to acquit Ferrier of any of the attempted murder charges against him, but he did rule that three of the four contested charges did not rise to the level of first degree attempted murder.

Judge Charles Dodson ruled that the charges that relate to TPD officer Chuck Perrry, LSCO deputy Davis, and LCSO deputy John Johnson will be reduced to second degree attempted murder.

Jerome Ferrier just told the judge that he has decided not to testify.
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September 8, 2011 11am by Julie Montanaro

FDLE firearms examiner Jeff Foggy is now on the stand. He opened a box marked with red evidence tape and identified a gun inside as a 9mm Luger pistol.

That's the gun deputies say Jerome Ferrier was using in the shootout.

Foggy also examined bullets, fragments and casings from the scene.

Foggy says the 9mm projectiles he examined were too damaged to determine whether they were fired from that gun or not.

Foggy says 8 of nine spent casings he examined were fired from that pistol. The ninth casing did not have sufficient markings to show whether it was fired from that gun or not.

Foggy compared four more cartridge casings. Three of them were fired from the gun, Foggy said, and the fourth casing did not have sufficient markings to determine if it was fired from the gun or not.

Foggy also said he examined Deputy Kevin Shea's taser holster and said the bullet lodged in it was a 45 caliber. That indicates it was friendly fire from a fellow deputy.

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September 8, 2011 9:45am

Jurors are now getting a close up look at the live rounds and spent shell casings collected at the scene of a 2010 Memorial Day shootout.

Deputy Pat McLeod, who helped to mark, photograph, and collect evidence after the shooting is on the stand. He is wearing blue latex gloves as he opens bag after bag of evidence.

Prosecutors are flashing photos on the big screen. They show a sea of yellow markers both inside Jerome Ferrier's apartment and on the brick stairs outside.

One photo shows a spent shell casing right next to the front door. Another shows a trail of blood in the hallway.

Jerome Ferrier and his attorney are conferring quietly at the defense table and taking notes.

McLeod has been on the stand for more than an hour. He says he collected evidence at the scene for two days. He says he worked more than 19 hours the first day and 16 hours the second day.

On cross examination, McLeod says there were between 80 and 90 casings and fragments found outside the apartment and as many as 40 bullet holes in the walls of the apartment itself, including several in the refrigerator door.

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UPDATED September 7, 2011 6:30pm

Jerome Ferrier is now on trial for a Memorial Day shootout ... that sent one deputy to the hospital.

That deputy took the stand this morning and described the moment he realized he'd been hit.

LT Barry Blackburn says he took cover behind a tree in the front yard and when deputies turned the key and started to open the door, he said, the bullets started flying.

"It seems like I heard 8, 9, maybe ten rounds fired during that time period," Blackburn said.

Blackburn was shot in the shoulder moments later. Jurors saw the bullet hole for themselves as prosecutors passed them a photo of a shirtless Blackburn at Tallahassee Memorial.

Jerome Ferrier is the one accused of pulling the trigger that day. Memorial Day 2010. It all started when Ferrier sent his ex-girlfriend a picture of himself with a gun to his head. She reported it and deputies came to check on Ferrier's welfare.

"Shots started coming through the door," said SGT David Graham who was one of the deputies who went to the front door.

Prosecutors contend Ferrier was shooting to kill, but Ferrier's attorney claims he feared for his life when deputies with guns drawn surrounded his apartment.

"Once there was a shot fired from inside it was basically a fuselage, a shower of rain, fire coming against Mr. Ferrier," defense attorney Leonard Holton told the jury.

Detective Kevin Shea was one of the deputies at the door. He says as he ran to get his rifle out of the car a bullet struck his hip and was stopped only by his taser holster.

It turned out that bullet was actually friendly fire from a 45 caliber gun.

Ferrier's attorney points out, Ferrier was firing with a 9 mm.

Testimony in the case is expected to continue tomorrow. We'll keep you posted on a verdict.

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September 7, 2011 Noon by Julie Montanaro

A memorial day shootout is now playing out in front of a Tallahassee jury. Jerome Ferrier is now on trial accused of opening fire on 11 deputies that day.

Jerome Ferrier is facing attempted murder charges for firing on deputies that surrounded his home.

One of those deputies was shot.

Lt. Barry Blackburn is on the stand right now and he says after an initial volley of gunfire, he took cover behind a tree. When he looked out, he was shot in the shoulder.

The jury got to listen to segments of the 911 tape. One Sergeant yelled "shots fired", another said, "we gotta get a car, we gotta get the Lieutenant out of here" and Blackburn himself radioed that he needed EMS.

Deputies had gone to check on Ferrier's welfare after he sent his girlfriend a picture of himself with a gun to his head.

Ferrier's attorney claims his client had no obligation to open the door and was under attack by law enforcement.
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September 7, 2011 10:30am by Julie Montanaro

The defense attorney is now cross examining Detective Kevin Shea.

Shea admits that if Ferrier had shouted out that he was okay, deputies probably would not have left. Shea says they would have likely taken Ferrier into protective custody to ensure he was not a danger to himself or anyone else. Shea says they call that a Baker Act.

Shea says all Leon County deputies are issued a Glock 45 with 40 bullets.

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September 7, 2011 10am by Julie Montanaro

Detective Kevin Shea is on the stand. He was among the first deputies to respond to Ferrier's apartment at the corner of Owens and Palmetto Street.

Shea says deputies knocked on the front and back doors and all the windows. He says they called out to Mr. Ferrier by name and asked if he was okay. Shea says they told him if he would respond and let them know he's OK they would leave. Shea said there was no answer.

Shea says "We didn't know if he was dead or alive."

Shea says the landlord met them, gave them a key and drew a picture of the apartment's layout.

Shea says he made a final announcement telling Mr. Ferrier deputies were coming in.

Shea says when he pushed the door open the shots began. "It was continuous," he said. Shea says he and the others retreated to take cover. Shea says Ferrier fired some shots out the window too. Shea says some deputies returned fire.

Shea says he saw LT Barry Blackburn fall to the ground.

Shea says when he ran across the street to get his rifle out of his car, he saw Ferrier breaking out a window and then stick a gun out and start firing.

Shea says he was shot in the hip but the bullet was stopped by his taser holster. Shea says they discovered later that Shea was hit by friendly fire, not by Ferrier. LSCO uses 45 caliber bullets and Ferrier is alleged to have had a 22.

Shea says Ferrier fired again from the doorway and then he saw Ferried go down. Shea says Ferrier dropped his gun but managed to kick the door closed.

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September 7, 2011 9:45am by Julie Montanaro

Deputy Womble is now on the stand. He was working in the duty office on May 31, 2010. He says a woman identifying herself as Ferrier's ex-girlfriend walked in and showed him a picture of Ferrier with a gun to his head. He dispatched deputies to check on Ferrier's welfare.

Detective Kevin Shea was one of the deputies who responded.

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[UPDATE] 9-7 9:20am -

The trial of Jerome Ferrier is now underway in courtroom 3G.

There are seven jurors in the jury box.

Prosecutor Jon Fuchs is making opening statements.

He says Ferrier's girlfriend walked in to the Leon County Sheriff's Office and showed the duty officer a picture on her phone of Jerome Ferrier with a gun to his head.

Deputies went to Ferrier's apartment and knocked and yelled into an open window, Fuchs said, but got no answer. Fuchs says deputies called the landlord who met them with a key. Fuchs says when deputies opened the door, they were met by gunfire. Deputy Barry Blackburn was shot in the shoulder.

Fuchs says Ferrier later fired rounds out a window. Fuchs says Ferrier reloaded his 9mm and fired at least 12 rounds that day.

Defense attorney Leonard Holton says Ferrier was defending himself from an attack by law enforcement.

Holton days Ferrier had no obligation to open the door that day. He says at one point deputies yelled "You have 30 seconds to come out or we're coming in." Holton said deputies had surrounded Ferrier's home with their guns drawn and he feared for his safety.

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UPDATED 9.6.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A jury was chosen today in the trial of Jerome Ferrier.

Ferrier is accused of opening fire on deputies Memorial Day weekend 2010. The sheriff's office says Ferrier fired at least 20 shots and deputies and officers may have fired as many as 75 more.

One deputy was hit in the shoulder.

Ferrier is facing 11 counts of attempted murder.

The first witness is expected to take the stand Wednesday morning.

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UPDATED 7.26.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A man accused of opening fire on deputies will soon be headed to court and he won't be going alone.

Jerome Ferrier was arrested last May. He is accused of opening fire on deputies and police officers who went to check on him at his Owens Street apartment.

Court records show that Ferrier planned to defend himself against 11 counts of attempted murder. He changed his mind and today was appointed a public defender.

Ferrier's trial is six weeks away.
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UPDATED 6:30pm 6-2-2010 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man accused in a Memorial Day shootout with police makes his first appearance in court.

Both he and a deputy were shot in the exchange of gunfire.

Jerome Ferrier appeared before a judge via video link from the jail this morning. The judge ordered him to be held without bond on 11 counts of attempted murder.

Ferrier is accused of opening fire on deputies and police who had come to check on his welfare.

The sheriff called it a perfect example of an attempt at "suicide by cop" and a local police psychologist couldn't agree more.

It took detectives two days to count and document the bullet holes in Jerome Ferrier's apartment. Deputies who went to check on his welfare Monday soon found themselves under fire ... not once ... but repeatedly.

The Leon County Sheriff contends Ferrier was trying to commit suicide by provoking a deadly response.

"When the door opened, the shooting started," the sheriff said at a Tuesday press conference. "He wanted us to kill him and if he had to kill some of us to get it done, that was okay with him."

"It had the ingredients of suicide by cop," Dr. Pat Cook said.

Cook, a clinical, forensic and police psychologist, provides services for more than a dozen law enforcement agencies. He says "suicide by cop" was his initial assessment of the shootout too and says incidents like this are becoming more common.

"Often times there are people who don't want to live, but maybe don't have the courage to do what it takes to kill themselves. A lot of them may be grand standing, they want to go out in a blaze of glory. There may be a message that they're sending people that they're trying to pacy back for hurting their feelings or whatever. So it's a dramatic thing," Cook said.

"It's too common and there's some research that shows it might be more common than it used to be, ranging from 15% on up of police involved shootings," Cook said.

Studies show "suicide by cop" may account for 10-15% perhaps even 25% of all police shootings and studies we read show they overwhelmingly involve men, with guns, many of whom are experiencing family or relationship troubles.

A call from Ferrier's worried girlfriend sent deputies to his door. She says he sent a picture of himself with a gun to his head.

Ferrier ultimately survived with a shot to the arm and remains on suicide watch at the Leon County Jail.
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UPDATED 9:30am 6-2-2010 by Julie Montanaro

Jerome Ferrier appeared before a judge this morning for the first time since his arrest.

Ferrier was ordered held without bond on 11 counts of attempted murder.

Judge Ron Flury also appointed him a public defender.

According to an LCSO spokesman, Ferrier is under direct and constant supervision in the jail's medical ward to ensure he does not try to kill himself.
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UPDATED 6:30pm 6-1-2010 by Julie Montanaro

Leon County's sheriff calls a Memorial Day shootout an attempt at "suicide by cop."

It didn't work out, but both Jerome Ferrier and Lieutenant Barry Blackburn got shot in the process.

The crime tape still flutters at the corner of Palmetto and Owens as crime scene detectives spent a second day trying to count and document every single bullet hole.

The sheriff announcing that the man inside, Jerome Ferrier, fired at least 20 shots and the responding deputies and officers may have fired as many as 75 more.

"The subject's biggest desire is to do what we call "suicide by police," Sheriff Larry Campbell said. " He wanted us to kill him and if he had to kill some of us to get it done that was okay with him."

Deputies had gone to Ferrier's house to check on his welfare after his girlfriend called to tell them he had sent a picture of himself with a gun to his head and she could not reach him by phone.

The sheriff called what happened next a "bushwacking."

"When the door opened, the shooting started," Campbell said.

Ferrier is accused of firing on 11 different officers and deputies
and hitting 21 year LCSO veteran Barry Blackburn. The lieutenant, who worked many years on crime scenes himself, was shot in the shoulder.
The sheriff said the bullet came out 8 to 10 inches away, leaving a sizable hole.

Neighbors still can't believe their apartment complex is a crime scene. Kiefondra McClure ushered her two children inside just moments before the shooting started.

She has a hard time believing the friendly cab driver next door could do something like this.

"He was always happy and I never heard him have any arguments with anybody, so I thought he was very cool. I never thought he would be the person who would do something like that," McClure said.

Ferrier was slated to go before a judge this morning, but court records show he was not able to attend because he was on medication. That court hearing is now slated for tomorrow morning.

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Updated 2:30pm 6-1 by Julie Montanaro

Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell called a shootout at a Tallahassee man's apartment Monday an attempt at "suicide by cop."

Crime scene detectives are still trying to figure out how many shots were fired at Jerome Ferrier's apartment. They believe he fired at least 20 shots with a 9mm handgun.

The Sheriff says deputies and police officers may have fired as many as 75 times but their guns have not yet been analyzed.

The Sheriff said that Lieutenant Barry Blackburn, who has been on the job for 21 years, was standing in the front yard when he was shot. The bullet went into the back of his right shoulder and came out 8-10 inches away.

This information comes from a press conference that just wrapped up at LCSO.
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Updated 12:15pm 6-1

The following information was provided by LCSO:

Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm, Sheriff Campbell will brief the media on the investigation into the shooting incident that took place yesterday on Owens Street.
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UPDATED 6.1.2010 by Julie Montanaro

A deputy shot Monday in an exchange of gunfire has been released from the hospital and is now resting at home.

Suspect Jerome Ferrier has also been released from the hospital and taken to jail. He was charged with 11 counts of attempted murder.

Ferrier was scheduled to make his first appearance before a judge this morning, but court records show he was on medication and unable to attend, so that appearance in court has been rescheduled for tomorrow.
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The trigger-man was injured in Monday morning's shoot out, but he has been arrested and is currently at TMH recovering, but he's also stacked up against a pretty lengthy wrap sheet.

He's now facing 11 counts of attempted homicide.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office responded to 30-year-old Jerome Ferrier's Apartment earlier this morning to check on his welfare after an acquaintance of his notified authorities that Ferrier had sent her a picture of himself holding a gun to his head Sunday.

When Ferrier did not respond to their requests to open the door, Deputies were able to gain access from the landlord.

As soon as the door opened, Ferrier began firing his gun at the officers and they in turn fired back.

But during that battle, Lt. Barry Blackburn of the Leon County Sheriff's Office was shot in the right shoulder.

"The cops was having a shoot out. bang, bang, bang, bang. I thought it was firecrackers, but it wasn't firecrackers. It was a serious, real thing," says a witness.

Both LCSO's SWAT Team and TPD's TAC Team were dispatched to the scene to help with negotiations, but after Ferrier would not safely disarm himself and surrender, a chemical agent was used to force him out of the apartment.

Ferrier was shot in his right arm during the exchange of gunfire.

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LCSO responded to a call around 10:30 Monday morning to the University Apartments in Tallahassee.

When officers arrived on the scene- they say 30 year old Jerome Ferrier fired off multiple shots and the officers fired back.

During the exchange both Ferrier and a Lieutenant Barry Blackburn were shot. Ferrier in the right arm, Blackburn in the right shoulder.

TPD, TFD, TAC Team, and Bomb Squad were called in help set a perimeter around the complex.

"The law officers was having a shoot out, bam bam bam bam bam, I thought it was firecrackers but it wasn't no fire crackers it was the real thing, "

Witnesses gathered in the streets, some talking on the phone with people inside the apartment complex, trying to find out what was going on.

Deputies say the suspect locked himself inside an apartment and refused to come out.

LCSO says around 1pm they were finally able to get Ferrier into custody.

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Updated 5:16pm 5-31

Joint LCSO and TPD Press Release:

On Monday, May 31, 2010 the Leon County Sheriff’s Office responded to 2115 Owens Street, Apartment #1 to check on the welfare of 30-year-old Jerome Ferrier.

Uniform Patrol Deputies responded after an acquaintance notified LCSO that Ferrier had made some concerning statements recently.

Sunday, he allegedly sent her a picture of him holding a gun to his head.

Deputies arrived at Ferrier’s apartment shortly after 10:00am this morning.

When Ferrier would not respond to them, they contacted Ferrier’s landlord in order to make entry and check on him.

At approximately 11:00am, Deputies unlocked the door and opened it.

Ferrier immediately began firing a gun at them from inside.

Deputies returned fire and called for assistance. During the gunfire, Lt. Barry Blackburn was injured.

Deputies and uniformed Officers from the Tallahassee Police Department responded to the call for assistance and engaged in the gun battle as Ferrier continued to shoot from inside the apartment.

Tallahassee Police Officer Brian Davis arrived on scene in a marked patrol vehicle.

Officer Davis was aware that there was a suspect inside the residence who was armed with a handgun and had fired upon Leon County Sheriff Deputies.

Officer Davis approached with caution and as Deputies were continuing to exchange gunfire with the suspect, Officer Davis engaged in the gunfight also.

Emergency Medical assistance responded to the scene and transported Lt. Blackburn to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for a gunshot wound to the right shoulder.
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Updated 2:10pm 5-31

LCSO says the male suspect has been taken into custody.

Deputies say two men were shot near South Adams and Palmetto Drive.

One of the victims was a LCSO deputy and the other one was the suspect.

The lieutenant is in good condition in the hospital and the suspect is also recovering from his injuries while in custody at a hospital.
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Updated 12:55pm 5-31

At 10:30 Monday morning, LCSO responded to a welfare call at University Apartments off of Palmetto Drive.

When they arrived, shots were fired. TPD, tact team, bomb squad and TFD are on scene.

The suspect is currently contained inside of an apartment.

Police are doing negotiations to get him out.

Police wont comment on whether anyone was shot or if anyone else is inside the apartment.

Authorities have set up a perimeter in the area of South Adams and Palmetto Drive.
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Leon County Deputies, Tallahassee Police and Tallahassee Firefighters are on the scene of a shooting.

We have a crew at the scene telling us that authorities are in the area of Magnolia between South Monroe and South Adams Street.

A Walgreens parking lot has been cleared out to set up a perimeter.

Police are looking for a person they're calling an "active shooter."

There is a four block perimeter near Perkins Road.

The SWAT team has been called out.

No word if anyone has been shot or exactly who they're looking for.


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