An Air & Marine Operations agent, a division of Customs and Border Patrol, was ambushed on Tuesday outside of a Publix grocery store in Florida. The agent entered the store in uniform and was carrying groceries to his personal truck when an 18-year-old drove up behind him and shot him several times with a small caliber gun. The suspect drove off and then turned on the gun on his next target. He shot himself and the car crashed into several others in the parking lot.
The blatant attack occurred at 3:11 pm and the agent was caught completely unaware. He had his gun and badge visible but was unable to return fire on his assailant. The names of both the victim and the shooter were being withheld but the shooter’s mother has come forward. Thomas Jacob “Jake” Lewis IV was identified as the young man who shot the agent. She issued a statement;
“As the mother of Jake Lewis, I can only express my horror and grief at yesterday’s events. … When the Clay County Sheriff’s Office called me yesterday regarding his arrest warrant, I contacted Jake immediately and begged him to turn himself in. I would ask first for your prayers on behalf of the wounded officer and our law-enforcement community as they face danger every day. Second, I ask for your prayers for a grieving family that will try to remember Jake from better times. Finally, if it is in your heart, I ask for your prayers for the soul of my deceased son.”
The 18-year-old died as a result of the self-inflicted wound while the officer has undergone surgery for serious injuries but is recovering in the hospital.
Clay County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Investigations Wayne McKinney said the attack on an agent is something all law enforcement fears;
“It is disturbing. It is something that we live with each and every day, knowing that going out in our community there are individuals that would target us just for the badge we wear on our chest.”
Investigators did release the information that the shooter had an active warrant for dealing drugs. There were more than two dozen witnesses to the crime and some reported seeing the young man driving around the parking lot before the shooting. While details of the attack, including how many times the agent was shot, have not been released, some of the witnesses report hearing 4 gunshots. It does not appear that the agent had any previous interaction with his attacker.