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UNF Spinnaker

Armed robbery home invasion at The Flats

Hayley Simonson, Police Reporter

UPD Officers were dispatched to The Flats on Nov. 23, 2020 where a suspect was detained after a reported armed robbery home invasion. 

Upon UPD’s arrival, the suspect, Tiaurie D. Freeman,  was seen leaving the area where the complaint had been reported. According to the report obtained by Spinnaker, the victim pointed at Freeman and told officers he was the one who hit him. 

An officer asked Freeman to stop and advised Freeman of his Miranda rights. Freeman gave his account of the incident and told an officer that he was contacted by the victim through the online dating app Grindr at around 4 a.m. 

He was reportedly supposed to hang out with the victim to “smoke some weed.” Once arriving at The Flats, he apparently met with the victim outside and asked to see the marijuana. According to Freeman, the victim took the marijuana and started to walk to his apartment. Freeman said that he attempted to follow, but lost sight of him. He eventually found the apartment and asked to see where the marijuana was. 

According to Freeman, the victim was laughing and joking around, which made Freeman feel disrespected. The victim took Freeman into his room and opened his dresser drawer. He then pointed to a small grey bag, which he indicated was Freeman’s marijuana. According to Freeman, the victim apparently then swung his fist and hit Freeman in the neck. Freeman then punched him in the nose. Freeman said after the confrontation, words were exchanged, and then he left the apartment. 

The property that was taken from the suspect was a hunting knife and three small plastic containers of marijuana. The apartment, where the incident occurred, had a damaged door frame and a lock that appeared to be damaged, according to UPD.

Photo by Ronnie Rogers

An officer also made contact with the victim, who explained his side of what happened. He said that he met Freeman on Grindr and Facebook. He reportedly went online to meet Freeman for a friend, whom he would not formally identify. He said the meeting with Freeman was to “hang out.” 

According to the victim, when Freeman arrived he had two other males with him. He said he saw all three males coming through the peephole of the apartment, and then Freeman began kicking the door. He said he told Freeman he was going to call the police, but Freeman continued kicking the door. 

Once the door opened, according to the victim, Freeman came in and tried to choke him. Freeman then pulled out his knife attempting to stab him several times, and then attempted to pull a gun from his waistband. However, the victim reported that it was unsuccessful. The victim described the knife as large and serrated with a red or burgundy handle. He described the gun as black or silver. 

An officer asked where Freeman tried to stab him, to which he replied “everywhere.”  The officer reported no signs of knife wounds, but the victim’s lip appeared to be swelling. The victim also mentioned his phone was taken by one of the suspects.

While being questioned, an officer reported that the victim became very agitated, belligerent and uncooperative and asked how long it was going to take. The officer reported continually asking about the gun and knife, but the victim was reluctant to speak about them. All other roommates and visitors in the apartment at the time said they heard commotion going on in the common area, but didn’t leave their rooms.

Freeman was arrested and transported to Duval County Jail. The knife and marijuana were submitted to a JSO property room. Due to the nature of the crime reported, this case will be filed by the Detective Division with the State Attorney’s Office.

Freeman is facing offenses of a home invasion robbery with a firearm and other deadly weapon as well as marijuana possession not more than 20 grams. 

Spinnaker checked with UNF to see why no alert was sent, as UNF has done with other Flats burglaries.  An alert wasn’t sent because there was no potential or ongoing threat to the university community, due to the suspect being apprehended.  This wasn’t a random act because the suspect and the victim knew each other. This particular incident did not meet the definition for the issuance of a timely warning in the Clery handbook, defined as “a timely warning for any Clery Act crime that represents an ongoing threat to the safety of students or employees.”

___

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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