Detective's slaying still unsolved 28 years later
A granite marker in front of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office bears the name and image of Detective Lonnie C. Miller Sr.
Just blocks away, Miller's name is also one of many on the Fallen Officers Memorial Wall on A. Philip Randolph Boulevard.
Born in 1933, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective was 62 when a gunman took his life May 6, 1995, on Basswood and Pearl streets as he helped with a burglary call. He left a wife, four sons and a daughter.
Since then, no leads have turned up that could help find the gunman — until now, Cold Case homicide Detective Travis Oliver said.
"We went through the anniversary of this case at the beginning of this month, but in addition, we have some new leads that are developing that we are following up," Oliver said. "It's not from any evidence. It is just witnesses that should have come forward a long time ago are beginning to possibly move forward now."
Lonnie Miller Jr., a son of the slain detective, has been told of the developments and hopes the new leads will finally solve his father’s murder.
“I do understand that over the last 28 years there’s been some ups and downs. But our family has not given up hope, and we are always interested in what they have to tell us," Miller said. "With technology today, we hope that it can point out something that may not have been seen at the time and it might reveal some of the information that would resolve this situation.”
Miller was off duty when he heard a burglary call go out at a store where he did security work, Oliver said. He responded to the call along with on-duty officers, telling them he would handle the incident as the store's owner arrived. That's when the gunman showed up, shooting Miller and the owner. Miller did not survive.
The detective's son says his father was always someone who did whatever he could for his family and the Sheriff's Office, "and never asked for anything in return." So the family and the detective hope anyone with new information will call police
"This is personal to all of us, something we have always wanted done, so it gives us hope," Oliver said. "We know that the witnesses that we are talking to have other people who were present. So we need those witnesses to come forward as well, and the mor witnesses we have, the better chances we have of moving forward."
Tips can be made to the Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500, or made anonymously at First Coast Crime Stoppers, (866) 845-8477.