Official: Armed man points gun at police before officer shoots, kills Newport News man

A 35-year-old Newport News man pointed a loaded gun at police early Saturday before an officer shot and killed the man, officials investigating the shooting said Monday.

The fatal shooting happened inside the Pondo Cafe & Lounge, at 5832 Jefferson Ave., on April 29.

Officers from Newport News Police Department's South Precinct were notified about 4:50 a.m. of a disorderly person inside the sports bar, according to a police department news release. 

The officers tried to enter the bar, but the doors were locked. They could hear gunshots fired from inside the business, police said. 

Dispatchers were able to speak with people inside the restaurant by phone and learned three people were being held hostage, police said in an updated news release Monday. One of the hostages, an employee, was shot, officials said. 

"There were strong indications that this wounded victim was going into medical distress, and further delays in linking him to emergency medical treatment could have cost him his life," Chief Richard Myers said in a news release. 

After learning of the injured hostage and hearing additional gunfire, patrol officers requested the department's Tactical Operations Unit to respond. The tactical officers were able to force their way into the restaurant, officials said.

Inside, an armed man saw the officers and raised and pointed his gun at one of them. One officer then fired his gun, striking and killing the armed man, police said.

The gunman was identified Monday as Caleb “CJ” Jackson Jr., 35, of the 100 block of Pear Avenue in Newport News.

Police are not releasing the name of the officer who shot the man until the investigation has been completed and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office makes a final ruling, officials said. He has been placed on paid administrative leave. 

The officer is a 22-year veteran of the Newport News Police Department and has served on the tactical unit for 20 years. He "is a highly regarded TOU team leader and trainer," a news release stated. 

The officer has been involved in one other fatal shooting, which occurred during a tactical situation and was deemed justified by the Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, officials said.

In his statement, Myers promised a "thorough and objective investigation," and expressed sympathies to the family of Caleb Jackson Jr. 

The injured hostage was taken to the hospital and is reported to be stable, according to police. The other two hostages were not injured, officials said.

Though the shooting is under investigation, Myers expressed pride for the department's handling of the situation. 

"By all indications, the Newport News Police personnel from dispatch to patrol to our tactical response team acted with professionalism, courage, and putting their safety at risk to save a life," he said.  

Though some officers were wearing body cameras, that video and 911 calls are being reviewed as part of the investigation, and aren't being released, said police spokesman Lou Thurston. 

He said he didn't know why people were still in the business at 4:50 a.m., or what Jackson's connection to the bar was. 

Pondo Cafe didn't answer phone calls Monday afternoon, and attempts to talk to people inside the business were unsuccessful. 

Previously, April 29, 2017

A Newport News police officer shot and killed a man who was armed and violent at a restaurant Saturday morning, according to police spokesman Brandon Maynard.

Police said they heard multiple gunshots inside the restaurant before officers entered.

Police received a call about 4:51 a.m. reporting a violent person in the Pondo Cafe, a small sports bar in the 5800 block of Jefferson Avenue, just south of Briarfield Road. The call was updated to say the person was armed, Maynard said.

When officers arrived, they heard gunshots come from inside the restaurant but could not enter because it was locked, Maynard said.

The police tactical team was called and, once inside the bar, an officer “engaged the suspect,” Maynard said. The officer shot the suspect, who died at the scene, Maynard said. He hasn’t yet been identified.

Maynard said later Saturday that police were in the process of gathering more details, such as how many shots were fired and whether or not the suspect raised his weapon or fired his gun at the officer who shot him or other officers. He also could not say whether any officers were wearing body cameras at the time.

The caller who first reported the incident was in the restaurant at the time, and told police he had been shot before the tactical team responded. He was taken to the hospital, and “appears to be in stable condition,” Maynard said.

No officers were hurt, according to Maynard.

The officer who shot the man will be placed on paid administrative leave, and criminal and administrative investigations will be conducted, Maynard said — standard procedure for officer-involved shootings. If officers were wearing body cameras, the footage would be a part of the criminal investigation, Maynard said, and wouldn’t immediately be made available to the public.

According to a recent Daily Press report, there have been 33 shootings involving Peninsula police officers since 1990 in which someone died or was injured.

The last fatal police shooting in Newport News led to a lawsuit that was unofficially settled in January for a nominal amount. A detective in that case was ruled justified when he shot Kawanza Beaty on a dark street in southeast section of the city on July 4, 2015. Police said Beaty was carrying a sawed-off shotgun the morning he was shot. None of the officers involved in that incident were wearing body cameras.

In another high-profile case, body camera footage showed Damien Harrell drawing a weapon before being shot by a sheriff’s deputy in June 2015. Police say Harrell had crashed a vehicle at the York County section of Fort Eustis Boulevard near Richneck Road when he was stopped to ask who he was. A portion of that video was shown to members of the media.

Friday’s incident wasn’t the first involving firearms at the lounge. Last year, a 39-year-old man was shot in a parking lot outside Pondo Cafe just before 2 a.m., while stepping away to take a phone call. In 2013, a man said he was robbed at gunpoint while sitting in the bar, and in 2013, two men who police said were affiliated a motorcycle club with were accused with shooting into the building and arrested.

Reyes can be reached by phone at 757-247-4692. Reporter Hillary Smith and Daily Press archives contributed to this report.

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