JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Monday released body camera footage from the night of Feb. 23 -- the night Louis Nix III was last heard from.
On that night, a witness called police, saying that they saw lights and heard splashing in an apartment complex retention pond at the Broxton Bay apartments.
In the video, the officers at the scene can be seen looking out at the pond and shining their flashlights over the dark waters.
“Can’t tell if there’s a car in there or not though because you can’t see past like three foot out there,” one officer says.
“There’s tire tracks right here but you can’t tell if there’s a car out there,” an officer responds.
Then two of the officers begin speaking to one another.
“It’s fresh ain’t it?” the first officer says.
“I don’t see how it would get that far out though,” an officer responds.
“Betcha it goes down,” the first officer says back.
“It doesn’t look that deep right there though,” the other officer replies.
“It is deep, I guarantee you it’s deep. That’s fresh there,” the first officer says.
The officers continue to shine their flashlights in the pond, pointing out that a car can’t be seen. One suggests a vehicle may have started going into the pond and “hit the brakes and then backed up.”
“If it hit the water at the right angle, it’d float for a minute,” one officer says.
“Yeah, we’d still see it if it was in here,” another responds.
Eventually, an officer is heard mentioning the dive team.
“The dive team’s not going to come out unless we can actually see something,” one officer says.
One officer can be seen with a nylon rope and hook, throwing it into the water several times, but the hook doesn’t snag anything.
Four days later, on Feb. 27, Nix’s SUV and body were found in the pond.
Sources have confirmed to News4Jax that the Sheriff’s Office has opened an internal affairs investigation into the officers’ actions on the night of the search at the pond.
News4Jax spoke with Stephanie Wingfield, Louis Nix’s mother, about the video Tuesday and she says she feels there could have been more to be done to have recovered her son sooner than when he was found.
“Disappointed. Shocking,” Wingfield said after watching the video.
In a portion of the bodycam, an officer speaks with the witness, telling her she likely heard beer bottles hitting the water.
“As of right now, it doesn’t look like anything. It’s quite clear, you probably saw a car and heard beer bottles splashing. No biggie,” the officer tells the witness.
“She clearly said she saw taillights,” Wingfield told News4Jax. “So beer bottle and taillights, that’s two totally different things.”
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson also watched the video.
“A light, empty beer bottle isn’t going to make that much noise when you throw it in the water. It’s not going to make a loud splash,” Jefferson said.
News4Jax asked JSO for comment about sources telling us there is an internal affairs investigation. The Sheriff’s Office does not acknowledge internal affairs investigations until they are concluded, as a matter of policy.
The cause of Nix’s death was ruled a drowning, according to a supplemental report, and his blood-alcohol level was .192 -- more than twice the legal limit.
Nix, 29, was a standout at Raines High School and went on to play at Notre Dame, spend two years with the Houston Texans and briefly sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Nix was injured in a shooting in December at a gas station on Airport Center Drive. He told News4Jax days after the harrowing encounter that he was “getting through it” and hoped it wouldn’t happen to anyone else.