Jacksonville Lawmakers say 'We're In A Crisis' After Weekend's String Of Shootings

Feb 18, 2019

After a string of shootings left six dead over the past four days, two Jacksonville lawmakers say it's time to declare a state of emergency.

Democrats Sen. Audrey Gibson and Rep. Tracie Davis held the press conference at Elizabeth R. Powell Park in Northwest Jacksonville, where two were killed in a quadruple shooting Thursday. That was followed by three more shooting deaths on Saturday and another on sunday.

 

Gibson said the city is in a "state of emergency."

“I don’t have a problem with calling out the National Guard,” she said. “ I am not interested so much in having armed guardsmen on every corner, but we need to have a bigger presence in this city.”   

Related: Jacksonville Has ‘Some of the Worst’ Crime Zip Codes In Florida

Jacksonville has been Florida’s murder capital for most of the past two decades and violent crime has been on the rise over the past couple of years. So far, 21 people have been murdered in Jacksonville, according the the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Davis said Jacksonville is facing a crisis.

 

"We're in a state of emergency," she said. "The gun violence is stealing the lives of our loved ones, reeking havoc in our neighborhoods and creating a significant financial on our small business simply beacuse people are afriad."

 

Related: Mayoral Candidates Weigh In On Weekend Shootings  

 

The two lawmakers are recommending a city-wide curfew of 10 pm and want to request help from the Florida Highway Patrol. They said calling in the National Guard is not out of the question.

 

“I believe our streets are filled with blood tears,” she Gibson. “I believe the funeral homes are the biggest business in Jacksonville right now. I am so over it.”

 

Gibson urged the Mayor and t City Council to immediately fund after school and prevention programs that she said already exist.

 

"We need to invest in community initiatives that begin to build trust between our residents and our police. That seems like that’s a foreign statement nowadays," said Davis.

 

She said she wants more surveillance cameras and for the city to invest in more shotspotter technology to track gunshots and possibly locate the shooter.

 

Gibson said she's planning to write to Governor Ron DeSantis, Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams with the suggestions.