A K-9 sheriff’s officer in Jacksonville helped to take down an armed bank robber before he could harm anyone else – even after the culprit had shot the officer in the face in the midst of a vehicular pursuit.
The terrifying incident took place on Tuesday, when officers were called to an area where suspected bank robber 28-year-old Michael Joseph Harris was hiding, WOKV reported. The cops managed to track down Harris to his own car, but he quickly jumped out and got into a small silver vehicle that a woman was driving.
The woman sped away, leading officers on a chase that lasted for around two miles.
“The suspect, based on witness information, was leaning out back windows either side, back and forth and firing at the officers in pursuit,” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“The officers fired back a couple of times. It appears at this point that [Officer Jeremy Mason] was shot during the pursuit. However, he continued to pursue the vehicle to its termination point,” Williams concluded.
The crash ended when the suspect vehicle ran a stop sign and was hit by a civilian vehicle, with the driver of that car being taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries resulting from the crash. Harris was killed in the ensuing shootout.
As for Officer Mason, authorities confirmed that he was hit in the chin-area by shots fired during the pursuit. Although he is currently in stable condition, Mason will require plenty of time and treatment to get back to normal, Williams said.
“You have an officer who is shot during the pursuit,” he added. “He continues that pursuit and puts himself between the suspect, who is an incredibly violent felon, and the community and ultimately winds up stopping him from endangering the entire community.”