Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said on Twitter he was briefed about the multiple shooting when it happened by the Sheriff’s Office and updated by the fire chief about the condition of the victims.
“Briefings continue with the Sheriff as they investigate. Join me in praying for victims fighting to live,” Curry said.
Gov. Rick Scott said on Twitter that he had spoken to Sheriff Mike Williams about the multiple shooting.
“I offered any state resources they may need. Our law enforcement officers are working hard to keep people safe,” Scott posted.
Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney, who represents that area, said within minutes of the shooting his telephone began ringing nonstop with calls from neighborhood residents alerting him to what happened.
People are scared, frustrated and demanding more from city leaders and police to stop the violence that continues to shatter lives in the city.
Gaffney said he’s talking to the Sheriff’s Office about increasing patrols in that area, which has a reputation for crime problems. However, it will take more to solve the problem, he said.
“What it’s going to take to stop this violence in Jacksonville is the whole city, not just the [City] Council,” said Gaffney, who initiated a recent city effort to offer “mini-grants” to small organizations with efforts that address problems encouraging crime.
Gaffney also said because the shooting happened less than a half-mile from the football stadium, which had a multitude of police officers on duty, it indicates “these kids are not afraid of the police at this point.”
What can be done at this point, Gaffney said is “we all need to keep our eyes open and be vigilant and report every little incident.”
“Because if we all work together I think we can start taking one murderer, one problem person out of this community. Then we’ve got to look at the mental health issues and substance abuse because they all go together,” Gaffney said.
City Council is seeking a chairman to serve as chairman of a task force composed of 40 members in a wide-ranging assessment of what the city can do to reduce violent crime.
Meanwhile, Gaffney offered his thoughts as well as his prayers for the victims.
“My heart goes out to the families. They woke up this morning, some of them probably thinking they were going to a football game or just going to hang out with friends. Hopefully, with God’s will, they all will recover,” Gaffney said.
Lendvay said multiple shots were fired at the victims by at least one person, possibly two people, who arrived inside a gray or silver four-door sedan — possibly a Nissan Altima or Maxima that fled west on Pippin immediately after the shooting, he said.
“The shooter fired from the passenger side of that vehicle,” said Lendvay, noting detectives developed that information by interviewing witnesses and checking surveillance camera video at neighboring businesses and homes.
However, it was possible there were more than two shooters, Lendvay said.
“At this point we’re investigating what may have led up to the shooting including the possibility that this may be gang-related based on information obtained in the early stages of the investigation,” Lendvay said.
Police said there was no indication the shooting had anything to do with the Jaguars game. The gunfire erupted about 20 minutes before kickoff, but was within easy walking distance of TIAA Bank Field.
The Sheriff’s Office had cordoned off about a three-block perimeter extending outward from the shooting scene as evidence technicians and detectives combed the area for evidence and clues.
Lendvay said the area around the 900 block of A. Philip Randolph Boulevard will remain closed into the evening due to the crime scene investigation.
Police escorted Jaguar fans who’d parked inside their cars inside investigative perimeter to get their vehicles after the game.
Some neighborhood residents said they heard gunfire but didn’t pay attention to it.
“I thought it was firecrackers because of the [Jaguars] game. I didn’t see anything except a lot of cop cars racing down the street,” one man, who declined to give his name, told the Times-Union.
Another man, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said it sounded like about a dozen shots but he couldn’t be sure, and didn’t know where the gunfire was centered.
Lendvay also said because it was early in the investigation police didn’t know how many bullets were fired. Nor had they determined whether the shooter or shooters used a handgun, rifle or shotgun, he said.
“Obviously, there were multiple shots because there were multiple victims but the number has yet to be determined,” Lendvay said.
It was unclear whether the shooter or shooters got out of the car to fire, Lendvay said
A longer version of this story that includes additional photos and an interview with the father of a teenager killed in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting is at jacksonville.com.