Suspect Charged in River Road Shooting

Suspect Charged in River Road Shooting
Luis Roces was arrested and charged with second degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting on River Road in San Marco last month. | Photo/JSO

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) has a suspect in custody following a fatal shooting on San Marco’s River Road on Sunday, Jan. 21.

According to the police report, officers were dispatched to a River Road residence at 1:32 a.m. in response to a shooting. When they arrived, they found 30-year-old Austin Fitzgerald suffering from a gunshot wound on the ground near the residence. The report indicated Fitzgerald was pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital.

The suspect, 36-year-old Luis Roces, has been charged with second degree murder. A witness recognized him and told police he “occasionally resided” at the River Road residence, though the police report lists a Neptune Beach home address. 

According to the arrest report, a witness stated she drove from the victim’s home to the Dart Bar on King Street, where the two met with another friend. While out, the witness said she received and ignored several text messages and phone calls from Roces, who – she said she later discovered – had been searching for her in the Riverside area.

After leaving the bar and becoming separated from her party, the witness then stated Roces approached her as she walked alone down the roadway and told her to get in his car, at which point he took her back to the River Road home.

The witness statement in the police report continued that, en route, the witness texted Fitzgerald, asking him to come pick her up at Roces’s house, stating that she was afraid of him, and, once there, remained in a bathroom near the front door to wait for Fitzgerald to arrive; Roces remained in the bathroom with her. Once Fitzgerald arrived, the witness said Roces left the bathroom and began arguing with him at the front door, and the witness fled from the house.

The statement went on to say that the verbal altercation between the men continued as she and Fitzgerald attempted to get in Fitzgerald’s car – parked two doors down – to leave. Fitzgerald and Roces approached one another, still arguing.

Though statements pertaining to events immediately leading up to and including the shooting are redacted from the police report, a gun, at some point, was produced and Fitzgerald was shot. 

The report stated a silver .38 caliber revolver was recovered on the front steps of the home and that another witness said Roces “appeared strangely calm” following the shooting.

Roces’s statements to investigators have been redacted from the police report. He was arrested later that Sunday afternoon and charged in connection with the shooting.

By Michele Leivas
Resident Community News

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