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Westside homeowner gets into shootout with gunman

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Westside homeowner gets into shootout with gunman

A Westside homeowner got into a shootout Monday morning with a person armed with an assault rifle, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the homeowner. It happened just before 10 a.m. on Buttercup Street at Brannon Avenue. The homeowner, Paul Ballard, who is a military veteran, said he heard gunshots and screaming, so he went outside with a handgun in his belt. He said he saw a man pointing a rifle at a neighbor, and told the man to go away. "He was waving his rifle around, and saying something to my neighbors, who were over by the van and his children, and he started walking towards her and that's when I looked toward him and said, 'Not in this neighborhood. There ain't going to be no shootings in this neighborhood," Ballard told News4Jax. According to Ballard, the man started shooting at him, and he fired back, hitting the man's vehicle as the man drove away. "He tried to shoot my neighbor’s dog in close proximity to my neighbor. I think he shot a second time in the direction of my neighbor and his children. And then when he saw me and I made the comment that there were not going to be no more shootings in this neighborhood, that is when he turned full semi-auto with an AK-47 and opened up on myself and my house," he said. Ballard said the unknown gunman shot out his truck windows and shot through two homes, one of which a woman was inside tending to her children. "I heard the gunshots. I heard a ping like glass breaking," said the owner of one of the homes that was hit by a stray bullet. "I went out and checked, and there's a hole in my bedroom window. It traveled all the way through my house to my son's room. That's half the length of my trailer." The incident is just one of many crimes that continue to occur in the neighborhood, which is why residents said they're now hoping to see more officers patrolling the area. "I mean, the response time when the shootings happen are good, but they should be here before they happened. And if there is a known drug problem, they should try harder to clean it up," said neighbor Laura Hunt. Ballard and his neighbors were not hurt in the shootout. There's no information on the search for the gunman. Police were called to investigate, but the Sheriff's Office has not yet released an incident report with a description of the gunman. According to the JSO crime-mapping tool, there have been 17 crimes reported in the neighborhood in the last month. More than half of the cases were assaults or burglaries. "Something needs to be done. Someone is going to go into the ground -- either me or my wife or the neighbors or children. This is a community of families, and it needs to be protected and investigated," Ballard said.

Read the complete article: FL | News 4 Jax

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