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Highway Shooting: FCN Obtains Police Tapes of Pursuit

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Published on Tuesday, May 10, 2005
in the First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- First Coast News has obtained the Florida Highway Patrol audio tapes, detailing what happened in the moments leading up to the shooting on I-95.

Trooper Hattle, new to the force, pulled over the Camaro for speeding eastbound on I-10 near 295.

As Tpr. Hattle was in his squad car writing 27-year old Melissa Ferris a ticket, Ferris drove off.

Tpr. Hattle: State Road 8, west of lane, gentlemen with a gun to his head

The car continued on, then stopped a second time near Cassat Avenue.

Ferris took off again with the gun still pointed at the passenger, 38-year old Jeffrey Opp.

FHP: What exactly does he have?

Tpr. Hattle: Signal 0 (weapon) is a silver revolver, looks like about a .38 caliber

The pursuit approached downtown.

Dispatcher: All units, he's half-mile west of Stockton Street, State Road eastbound

Tpr. Hattle: Be advised, I was 1050 (stopped) with her when she took off, I have her ID and info

FHP: Advising do not attempt to go 1050 (stop) with her until 1094's (backup) is there with you

Ferris swerved onto I-95 South.

Tpr. Hattle: That's a definite 10-4, State Road 9 southbound approaching the Fuller Warren

FHP: Ask JSO if they have a chopper up

Nearly 10 miles later, the pursuit came to an end.

Tpr. Hattle: Advise subject pulling over, subject pulling over

Dispatcher: 1616 Be advised, signal 0 (weapon) to the subjects head

FHP: 1616, If you've got it by me, let's shut it down, shut down the interstate

Tpr. Hattle: Fired, shots fired!

Ferris fatally shot her passenger.

Troopers surrounded the green Camaro, guns drawn.

Ferris stepped out with the gun in her mouth. Police say she pointed it at an officer, then got back in her vehicle.

Moments later, Ferris surrendered.

FHP: We have one white female 10-15 (under arrest)

FHP: Cancel JSO Swat, also advise the captain if he's responding, we're gonna have to treat it as a crime scene, we'll have to start re-routing some traffic.

Traffic was backed up for three hours Monday evening.

Police tell FCN they believe Ferris and Opp had a deal, a "you shoot me, then shoot yourself" deal.

But police believe Ferris couldn't pull the trigger on herself. Police think Ferris wanted troopers to shoot her.


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