Sen. Rubio, police, community react to Sanibel shooting

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SANIBEL, Fla. — Sen. Marco Rubio was among many Monday to address the shooting of a Sanibel police officer who was working a traffic stop Sunday.

Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator made a statement through his office one day after the incident involving Officer Jarred Ciccone, who was treated and released at Lee Memorial Hospital.

“This attempted assassination of a police officer is despicable, and I am so grateful Officer Ciccone will fully recover from his injury,” Rubio said. “He and his family are in our prayers, as are the many other valiant men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day working to keep our communities safe.”

Sanibel resident Jon Hay, 49, was arrested and is facing charges for the shooting.

Police officers and residents also shared their reactions following the arrest:

Some residents were stranded from their homes Sunday, unable to cross the Sanibel Causeway, which was closed for about an hour. Police told residents in The Dunes neighborhood to lock their doors and stay away from their windows.

Lisa Lawler-Williams said a bullet entered her home.

“It must have ricoheted off of something, and it actually landed on my daughter’s bed,” Lawler-Williams said.

Marin Williams, the daughter of Lawler-Williams, wasn’t home at the time.

“That’s pretty scary just to think about all the what-ifs,” Marin Williams said. “What if I’d been home? If I had been home, I probably would have been eating dinner with my family, but what if what if I’d gone in my room to grab something?”

The incident, the first officer-involved shooting in Sanibel history, caught many on the island off guard. Still, many Sanibel residents praised the way the police department kept them informed and safe.

Suspect’s past raises questions

Jon Webster Hay / LCSO
Jon Webster Hay / LCSO

Hay had another recent brush with Sanibel police.

Employees of The Jacaranda restaurant produced photos showing officers questioning Hay two months ago. That was shortly after employees told police Hay was stalking someone who used to work at the restaurant, according to Laura Richardson, the restaurant’s manager.

Police found two loaded weapons in Hay’s car but said he had permits for them, the man accusing Hay of stalking said.

Police increased their patrols around the restaurant but told the man there was nothing more they could do, he said.

The man said he had multiple disturbing encounters with Hay outside The Jacaranda, which isn’t far from Hay’s home.

“I always noticed [an] 80s, early 90s-style red Mustang, always seemed to be there when I got to work and noticed that he was kind of staring at me,” the man said. “And somebody else had pointed it out too. I slowly walked towards him to kinda be like, ‘You know, this is kind of weird. What are you doing?’ and then he pulled out very quickly as soon as I started to approach him.”

Another time, Hay swerved his car toward him, the man said.

Sunday’s events left Richardson believing a red flag was missed.

“I think it’s crazy,” Richardson said. I don’t know why nobody reported him before, nobody followed up, or why anything wasn’t done.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is leading investigation into Sunday’s shooting. FDLE officials and Sanibel police officers went to Hay’s Sanibel home on Monday night to continue looking into the shooting.



Help for wounded officer

Community leaders have established an assistance fund for Ciccone. Donations can be made to the City of Sanibel Employee Assistance Fund via F.I.S.H., a Sanibel and Captiva-based social services program.

For more information, call 239-472-4775 or write to F.I.S.H. at 2430-B, Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957.

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