The Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Orange Park Police Department were on scene during the deadly shooting of a Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) man who was wanted for an alleged murder charge.
Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook went live on Facebook alongside Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief of Investigation Alan Parker at approximately 10:09 p.m. Friday to update the public.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office requested the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) SWAT team assistance in issuing a search warrant for the Jacksonville home and vehicle of Zonchez Prince, 39, in reference to an ongoing murder investigation. Parker said the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office issued the search warrant approximately a week before the May 19 officer-involved shooting occurred.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Department Deputies and Pompano Beach Fire and Rescue responded to a report of shots fired near the 2300 block of Northwest Sixth Street in Pompano Beach on Friday, May 12 just before 3 a.m., according to a Broward County Sheriff’s Office press release.
On scene, deputies located a male victim, Andrew Ford, 32, who was suffering from gunshot wounds. Deputies administered life-saving measures until Pompano Beach Fire and Rescue arrived. Paramedics transported Ford to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Further investigation into the incident led detectives to identify Zonchez Prince and his brother, Brandon Prince, 34, as the individuals involved in the homicide, the press release said.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigators executed the Broward County search warrant and located two pistols—one in Zonchez Prince’s residence and one in his vehicle, Parker said. Then, on Thursday, May 18, an arrest warrant for Prince was issued by the Broward County Sheriff’s Department who, again, asked for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office assistance in the case.
Just before 6 p.m. on Friday (May 19) Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office SWAT team located Prince in a black sedan in the parking lot of the Village Shopping Center located in the 1100 block of U.S. 17. The officers contacted Clay County Sheriff’s Office dispatch who sent deputies to the area for assistance, Sheriff Cook said.
The Jacksonville SWAT team used three patrol vehicles to block Prince’s car in a barricade and attempt to make contact with him, Parker said. They engaged in contact with him, noting the vehicle had a busted back window, while Prince sat in the front driver’s seat with the window partially rolled down.
Prince told officers he was not going to get out of the vehicle, Parker reported.
“You are going to have to shoot me. You are going to have to kill me,” Prince told law enforcement.
It was at this time that Prince produced a handgun and pointed it at officers. Two JSO officers quickly “eliminated the threat,” by shooting at him through the driver’s seat window, Parker reported. SWAT team members then rendered aid, but Prince did not survive the injuries.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Orange Park Police Department were both on scene, but not directly involved in the shooting or investigation regarding Prince.
Sheriff Waters explained that officers are not required to be shot at first, before using deadly force (or firing at a suspect).
“Let me address that really quick, I want to explain this to you,” Waters said to a reporter during the Friday night news conference. “An officer is not required to let someone shoot at them before they use deadly force. That has never been okay and it is not okay in this situation. So, they did what they did, they followed the law and it ended up like it did.”
The two Jacksonville officers who administered deadly force are currently on administrative leave, per policy, because this is each of their second officer-involved shootings. This is Jacksonville’s seventh officer-involved shooting this year, Parker reported.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Florida State Attorney’s Office are leading the investigation into the officers and it is unknown how long it will take to complete, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said.
“Investigations like this can take months or even up to a year,” she said.
Prince has a residence listed in the 1800 block of Northwest First Terrace in Pompano Beach, as well as a residence listed in the 400 block of Century 21 Drive in Jacksonville, according to the Duval and Broward County’s Clerk’s Offices.
On Sunday, May 21, Broward County deputies located Brandon Prince in Fort Lauderdale. Deputies conducted a traffic stop and he was transported to the Broward County Jail. He faces on count of first degree murder and the investigation is ongoing.