A man who was killed in a shootout with police on Interstate 75 has been identified as 59-year-old Miami resident Earl Jackson, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported.
Kevin Maurice Bland, a former colleague of Jackson, said the two men worked together as law enforcement officers in Miami-Dade for over a decade.
“I am a retired officer from Miami-Dade County,” Bland told The Gainesville Sun. “The man who allegedly had a shootout with police was my sergeant for over 15 years and was a very calm person. We were required to have a certain amount of fire arms training during our tenure and he was very good with a gun. I am sure if he wanted to shoot the trooper he could have.”
Jackson’s friends said he had been working as a corrections officer in South Florida while struggling with mental health issues.
The shootout was the culmination of a massive search that began 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Officers from multiple agencies found Jackson around 1 p.m., which is when the shootout started.
Jackson died near the highway. It is not clear whether Jackson was shot by officers or shot himself.