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JSO ID Man Killed In Officer-Involved Shooting

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has identified the man shot and killed by an officer during a traffic stop as 33-year-old Leonardo Marquette Little.

Little was fatally shot Monday night around 7:30 p.m. after getting into an altercation with Patrol Officer Cecil Grant during a traffic stop in the 7000 block of 103rd Street, according to police. Grant pulled the Buick sedan over due to an expired license.

“The officer got out of his car approached the driver of the car, asked for his license and information,” said Tom Hackney Director of Investigations and Homeland Security for JSO. “The subject told the officer that he didn’t have his license with him and gave him a name and date of birth.”

However, Grant wasn’t able to find a direct match to the information Little provided, Hackney said. When he returned to Little’s vehicle, Little provided him with another name and date of birth.

After investigating it further, Grant was able to find a photo matching the Little’s description and some of the information he had provided, Hackney said.

“The suspect whose information he found, had a suspended driver’s license,” Hackney said.

When Grant confronted Little about the suspended license, Little admitted that it was true, police said.

According to police, when Grant asked Little to step out of the car to be placed under arrest, Little initially complied. Hackney said Grant placed two handcuffs on Little due to his size. Little is described as a 5 foot 7 inches tall man weighing about 250 pounds.

“It should be noted that the subject has about 100 pounds or so on the officer in weight,” he said. “ The subject is fairly stocky.”

As Grant began to cuff Little, Little began to fight back, Hackney said. He attempted to flee, but Grant caught up with him and fired his Taser which struck Little and caused him to fall. However, when Grant attempted to arrest him again, Hackney said Little fought back again and got hold of Grant’s Taser.

With the Taser in hand, Little charged toward Grant, who fired his gun into Little twice, “once in the upper body and once in the leg,” Hackney said. Little died at the scene.

Grant has since been placed on administrative leave as is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, Hackney said.

The case is being investigated internally and by the State Attorney’s Office, Hackney said.

An autopsy of Little’s body was performed Tuesday. While a toxicology of the body has not yet been performed, Hackney said Little did not appear to be under the influence of a controlled substance at the time.

“He didn’t exhibit any times of being impaired,” Hackney said.

Grant, 28, has been with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office since April 1, according to Hackney. This is his first officer-involved shooting.

“There’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop,” Hackney said. “When they make a traffic stop and walk up, it is a complete unknown what they are walking into.”

Arrest records show a lengthy history of offenses for Little spanning back to 2000. Most were traffic-related, although there were a few crimes which involved resistance and at least one battery charge.

News of the shooting comes as racial tensions remain at fever pitch from the grand jury verdict in Ferguson, where unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot by an officer.

Little is also black. However, Grant is black as well.

When asked about the need for a conversation about easing tensions between officers and civilians, Hackney said that speaks to a larger issue.

“That’s a larger question with some bigger impacts and further-reaching aspects,” he said. “I can tell you that the use of force in this case on 103rd Street last night will be investigated in several different ways... to make sure that that use of force is within our policy.”

Rhema Thompson began her post at WJCT on a very cold day in January 2014 and left WJCT to join the team at The Florida Times Union in December 2014.