Saturday, January 16, 2010
PUBLIC INFORMATION ANNOUNCEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JACKSONVILLE FIREMAN SHOT OUTSIDE CLAY COUNTY RESTAURANT; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY
At approximately 12:45am today (Saturday) a man was shot in the parking lot of Whitey's Fish Camp located on Fleming Island on CR 220. The victim, 35-year-old John E. Riggs of Keystone Heights (DOB 1-19-74), is employed as a fireman for Jacksonville Fire Rescue. Riggs' wife was on scene when the shooting occurred and the JFR has been notified of the incident.
CCSO personnel on scene believe the shooting was the result of a verbal altercation that occurred inside the Whitey's bar area earlier in the evening/morning. Riggs and his wife were walking to their car in the parking lot when a vehicle drove by and the suspect exited the passenger side of the vehicle and shot at Riggs several times. Riggs was shot twice, but we are not revealing the exact location of his wounds at this time. No one else in the parking lot was harmed. Riggs was flown by helicopter to Shands Jacksonville where he is being treated for his gun shot wounds and is in critical condition but expected to survive.
Two CCSO deputies were nearby at the time of the shooting, one on duty in the area and one working off duty at Whitey's. Both acted quickly and were able to assist the victim as well as capture the suspect, who was attempting to flee on CR 220 across the Swimming Pen Creek Bridge. This suspect is being questioned now by CCSO Robbery-Homicide detectives and an arrest is pending further investigation. The suspect's name and booking photo will be released if/when he is booked into the Clay County Jail later today.
If you have questions about John Riggs' employment history with JFR, please contact your normal point of contact at that agency. Members of the media who respond to the scene may be assisted there by RHU Sgt. Wayne McKinney or by Watch Commander Lt. Baylor Alexander.
The following individual was arrested for Aggravated Battery in reference to the Whitey's shooting:
GRIFFIS, JOHN MATTHEW
3095 RUSSELL RD
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, FL 32043
Race: W Sex: M DOB: 10/21/1986
He was in the passenger seat of a white Chevy Tahoe as the vehicle was driven out of the parking lot. Detectives believe the suspect may have been struck with a beer bottle while riding in the vehicle at which time he obtained a .32 caliber handgun from the glove box of the vehicle. At this time the suspect exited the vehicle and fired two shots striking the victim in the abdomen area and right forearm area.
There were three other occupants inside the vehicle at the time this incident occurred two of which exited the vehicle after the shots were fired and administered aide to the victim by removing their shirts and applying pressure to the wounds as well as elevated his feet and basic first aide.
The off duty officer and the on duty oficer were on scene almost immediately and apprehended the suspect while he was attempting to flee the area on foot.
Last information obtained there appeared to be no chance of death as a result of the victim's wounds.