OCALA, Florida – A nurse was shot Saturday inside an Ocala hospital after a suspect stole a trooper’s gun and opened fire, officials said.
June 20–Shackled at the ankles and with cuffs on his hands, the man who was involved Saturday in a tussle with Florida Highway Patrol troopers at a local hospital, during which a nurse was shot in the leg, said on Tuesday that he was sorry for what happened.
Jason Ronald Gignac, 38, dressed in a Marion County Jail-issued red top and bottom, agreed to an interview at the facility. He said he is “not a violent person,” and was just trying to leave the medical center when things went awry.
“I was trying to get out of there,” said Gignac, his voice breaking and tears beginning to fall.
The FHP issued a statement over the weekend that said troopers had multiple contacts with Gignac on Interstate 75 on Saturday, in the area of Mile Marker 341. Reports state that Gignac was walking along I-75 when he was told at least twice that he could not walk on the interstate.
The third time troopers saw him on the highway, Gignac told them he was sick and he was taken by ambulance to West Marion Community Hospital. Troopers intended to arrest him for obstruction of justice by failing to follow a lawful order by being a pedestrian on I-75 after he was treated.
As Gignac was being discharged, there was a struggle between him and three troopers, during which a gun belonging to one of the officers was discharged and a bullet hit a nurse in the leg.
According to Gignac’s arrest report, he bit at least two of the troopers during the struggle and one trooper received a head wound. Gignac now faces charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and one count each of resisting an officer without violence and obstruction without violence.
At the jail on Tuesday, Gignac gave his version of events.
He said he had been at his girlfriend’s home off County Road 484 and they had been arguing for much of the weekend. He said she told him their relationship was not going to “work out” so he left on foot.
“I just wanted to get back home, to Lake City,” he said.
He said his first encounter with FHP troopers was while he was walking north on I-75 and passed a trooper who had a semi pulled over. He said the trooper told him to go back to CR 484 or he would be arrested. He said he returned to CR 484, stayed there for awhile and decided to go back on the interstate so he could walk to Lake City.
Gignac said he again was walking north on the highway when two troopers stopped. He said they drove him to a gas station on CR 484. He said after they left he decided to go back to the interstate, but this time walked south because he was just “trying to get out of there.”
He said two FHP vehicles pulled up beside him and a trooper asked where he was going. By then, Gignac said, he felt sick and had vomited because he drank water from a puddle on the ground. He said he asked troopers to take him to a hospital and pretty soon an ambulance showed up.
At the hospital, he said, medical workers wanted to give him an IV and have a doctor examine him, but he told them he did not want any medical treatment. Gignac said he was then handcuffed to a bed in the emergency room.
“They pulled blood from me,” he said showing his arm.
After he was treated, Gignac said, troopers removed the handcuffs and told him he was going to jail. He said he thought one of the troopers was reaching for his gun so they struggled.
“I grabbed his arm and the other two troopers grabbed me. Everyone was struggling,” Gignac said.
Gignac said when the shot fired, he thought one of the troopers had been shot.
“I’m really sorry for that nurse,” he said.
Gignac said he was scared and confused.
“I’m really sorry. I wouldn’t intentionally shoot anyone,” he said.
The nurse was in stable condition, troopers said Saturday.
FHP troopers on Tuesday declined further comment and said the incident is being investigated internally. The names of the troopers will not be released and they continue to work, officials noted.
The shooting also is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Their report will be forwarded to the State Attorneys Office for review.
Gignac, who was assigned a public defender, is being held on no bond.
According to local court records, Gignac has several criminal convictions, including for driving on a suspended driver’s license and failure to appear for driving on a suspended driver’s license. A domestic battery charge against him was dropped in 2012.
Gignac’s mother, Rachael Delannoy, said in a phone interview that her son has been battling drug addiction for a “long time” and had lived with her for two months to “stay sober.” She said he decided on June 13 to go to Ocala, but she did not know why.
She believes her son’s actions on Saturday were due to drugs.
“My son was under the influence of drugs, that’s why this happened,” she said.
“I love my son dearly,” she added. “He needs help.”
Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, email@example.com or @almillerosb.
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