Group on horseback faced gunfire in ambush, Florida cops say


The suspect was not armed when captured, but a search dog later found a weapon suspected to have used in the shooting, officials said.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office photo

In a scene straight out of the old west, a group of riders on horseback was ambushed by a man who emerged from the woods and fired “dozens of rounds” at them, Florida deputies said.

One rider was hospitalized with a gunshot wound, theJackson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

A suspect has been arrested, but investigators have not released a motive.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, along a dirt road north of Campbellton, near the Alabama state line..

“Within minutes, deputies and Florida Highway Patrol Troopers were on scene. Law enforcement quickly determined that a single suspect came out of a wooded area and fired dozens of rounds at a group of horse riders, hitting one victim,” the sheriff’s office said.

“A perimeter was quickly established, and the K-9 Tracking Unit was activated. Houston County, Alabama, deputies were also notified in the event that the suspect crossed the state line. Around 4 p.m., the suspect was seen just across the Alabama state line crossing Highway 231 on foot.”

The suspect, Ernest Jett, Jr., was captured “without incident” by the Florida Highway Patrol.

He was not armed, but a search dog found a weapon in the area, along with other evidence, officials said.

Jett was being held in the Houston County jail as he awaited extradition to Jackson County, where will be charged with “second-degree attempted Murder and numerous other felony charges,” officials said.

Investigators have not released the identity of the wounded rider.

The group of riders was in the area for an equestrian event, the Jackson County Times reported. The wounded rider, a woman, was struck in the leg.

Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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