RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A manhunt is underway in Jacksonville, Florida for a suspect wanted in connection with the murder of an active duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard from Powhatan.
Caroline Schollaert, 26, was fatally shot on Tuesday, August 3 around 5:30 a.m. as she attempted to confront someone trying to break into her car. Jacksonville police say Schollaert was on the phone with 911 dispatchers when the suspect fired a single shot and ran away.
Officers believe the suspect was later picked up in a getaway vehicle and left the area.
Schollaert was serving in the Coast Guard on the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, which conducts counter drug operations.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has released surveillance video collected from around the scene of the crime believed to show the suspect on foot moments before Schollaert was killed.
Police are also seeking a person of interest in the case and are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man.
Schollaert was previously a volunteer firefighter in Branford, Connecticut for about three years, starting in 2014. The Indian Neck/Pine Orchard Volunteer Fire Department Company 9 shared their condolences to their Facebook page after hearing of Schollaert’s death.
Captain Chris Gagliardi of the Indian Neck/Pine Orchard Volunteer Fire Department Company 9 said Schollaert was present and active with her fellow volunteers, and she’ll be remembered as someone who knew how to make others smile and keep spirits high.
“She really enjoyed hanging out with all of us,” Gagliardi said. “And we really enjoyed hanging out with her. She fit right in with us.”
Gagliardi said Schollaert was hard-working and dedicated to both the Coast Guard and the fire department. News of Schollaert’s death shook members of their department.
“I was heartbroken,” he said. “We have a strong bond with the men and women of the department, and you almost become like family. We were all very upset to hear of her passing, but we just try to remember and honor her as best that we can.”
The U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service was going door-to-door in Schollaert’s neighborhood on Saturday asking neighbors to check their security cameras for any footage and to come forward with information about the incident if they have it.
Over $20,000 is being offered between local authorities and funds raised by friends of Schollaert’s family as a reward for information leading to an arrest.