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VIDEO: Okaloosa Deputy resigns following officer-involved shooting in Fort Walton Beach

An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy has resigned after an internal investigation found his use of force during a November call was not reasonable, the agency said Monday. The shooting occurred […]

OCSO

An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy has resigned after an internal investigation found his use of force during a November call was not reasonable, the agency said Monday.

  • Deputy Jesse Hernadez resigned Dec. 4 in the wake of a Nov. 12 officer-involved shooting near Fort Walton Beach also involving his supervisor, Sgt. Beth Roberts.
  • See full report

The shooting occurred after deputies responded around 8:42 a.m. to a call of a vehicle driving around a neighborhood honking its horn and disrupting the peace since 3 a.m. A second call came in from a woman reporting her boyfriend, Marquis Jackson, had stolen her car and was texting threats, the sheriff’s office statement said.

The victim provided texts she said came from inside her car appearing to show a firearm suppressor pointing at the dashboard. Jackson returned to the McLaren Circle location around 9:09 a.m. as deputies were interviewing the victim.

Jackson was detained, searched, handcuffed and placed in the back of Hernadez’s patrol vehicle while the investigation continued and the victim completed an affidavit for the stolen vehicle, according to the OCSO.

  • The victim told deputies Jackson had a silencer and she was not sure where it was, adding that he had more than one weapon, the release said.

As other deputies located the victim’s stolen vehicle nearby on Hunt Club Street, Hernadez was approaching the patrol car to conduct a secondary search of Jackson. He then heard a popping sound he perceived to be gunfire, according to the statement.

  • The report states that an “acorn strikes the roof of Deputy Hernandez’s patrol vehicle.”

Hernadez began yelling “shots fired” multiple times, falling to the ground and rolling while firing into the patrol car. After witnessing his reaction, Sgt. Roberts also fired shots toward the vehicle out of concern for her safety and Hernadez’s, the statement said.

An internal review by the Sheriff’s Office Professional Standards division determined Hernadez’s use of force was not objectively reasonable, sustaining a policy violation for excessive use of control to resistance. Investigators exonerated Roberts after finding her use of deadly force was reasonable.

  • Jackson escaped injury in the shooting and no weapon was recovered, according to the statement. The audible pop Hernadez reported hearing can be distinguished on body cam audio.

Hernadez had been with the agency since January 2022, while Sgt. Roberts has served since May 2008. Both were current on firearms and use-of-force training qualifications, the statement said.

Sheriff Eric Aden said the situation was traumatic for Jackson and all involved, and has been incorporated into officer training to prevent recurrence.

  • “We understand this situation was traumatic for Mr. Jackson and all involved and have incorporated this officer involved shooting into our training to try to ensure nothing similar happens again,” said Aden. “We are very thankful Mr. Jackson wasn’t injured and we have no reason to think former Deputy Hernandez acted with any malice.”

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One Response

  1. thank goodness you allowed the officer the ability to resign because it was an unfair ruling- you decided the officer’s response was not indicated but the persons making the ruling were not there and there was talk that the man who took the car might have had a weapon. A noise that sounded like a pop would indicate an alert on the officer’s part and his reaction would seem normal. You avoided a lawsuit this time but if I were the officer I would sue your department.

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