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2 dead after armed robbery at Jacksonville gaming center

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A rainy Sunday night robbery at a Southside gaming center ended with two suspects killed after a security guard shot them inside Spin City Sweepstakes at 10095 Beach Blvd., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Two others got away.

Officers were called to the strip mall near Peach Drive at 11:30 p.m. on reports of someone shot, the Sheriff’s Office said. One victim died at the scene and the other died while being treated at a hospital. Police identified the dead men as 28-year-old Raheem Jason Prather and 23-year-old Raymond Dixon.

Police said three people went into the internet cafe, all armed with guns, to rob it. A fourth person stayed outside the business in a vehicle.

Video surveillance from the strip mall shows what appears to be a dark compact Jeep Compass or Patriot stopping in the parking lot just before 11:30 p.m. Three men wearing knit caps or hoodies get out and walk to the business, one carrying what looks like a rifle. That video can be seen at bit.ly/2HsH1IG. Another image released by police shows a gunman, face hidden by a hoodie, leveling a semi-automatic handgun with extended clip inside Spin City.

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As the suspects robbed the business, a security guard working there pulled his weapon and fatally shot the suspect closest to him. The guard continued to fire as the other two gunmen fled, hitting the one of them. The third suspect, who was grazed by another bullet, got back into the vehicle outside and they fled, police said. Prather can be identified in the surveillance because of his height at about 4-foot-9.

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While the security guard was not identified, the Sheriff’s Office said he was not one of its officers working an off-duty job.

Police have dealt with shooting incidents at the controversial internet cafes in recent years, one of the latest May 25 in San Mateo in Putnam County, the Sheriff’s Office reported. A 4:30 a.m. robbery attempt in the parking lot of Rosie’s Cyberspace on U.S. 17 moved inside, ending when 34-year-old bystander Derwin Eugene Davis was shot in the leg and died.

The Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office, joined by state law enforcement agencies, have also routinely raided the businesses to shut down what they said were illegal gambling houses that continue to operate as owners find loopholes.

Legislative attempts to stop internet cafes have seen numerous bills filed in Tallahassee, the latest separate Florida Senate and House bills this past session, which ended a week ago. The House bill made “designated player” games illegal, while the Senate bill did not, according to Florida Watchdog. Despite work to combine the bills in conference committee, the bills died without final votes.

Anyone with information on the others who may have been involved in Sunday’s robbery can call the Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500. Anonymous tips that could be eligible for a reward can be made to First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (TIPS).

Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549

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