Local Jacksonville Leaders Condemn Recent Shootings In Arlington

Oct 23, 2020

Jacksonville City Council members and local leaders joined together at the steps of City Hall Friday to condemn recent shootings that have taken place in the Arlington area.

On Sunday, a man was killed and a child was injured in a shooting at a youth football field in Arlington. A livestream of the field captured the incident.

The shooting is just one of six different shootings that have taken place in the Arlington area  since October 17.

“People are just sitting back and saying ‘it's not my problem,’ but all of this is our problem,” Councilwoman Joyce Morgan said. 

There have been at least 144 homicides in Jacksonville so far in 2020, according to an unofficial tally from WJCT News partner The Florida Times Union. 

Morgan said she is unsure of a clear-cut solution to fix the violence issues plaguing the city.

“If it were that easy for us to stand up here and answer that question, I think we would have fixed it by now,” Morgan said. 

On Thursday, a 19-year-old man was shot at University Place Apartments in Arlington. According to JSO, he was unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement to determine who the suspect is. 

During the news conference, community leaders stressed the importance of telling law enforcement if they see or know about a potentially dangerous situation. 

“He knew who shot him, but he didn't say,” Morgan said. “So how do we get people who are involved in this stuff, to really rat out each other?”

Morgan said she believes the violence is gang-related or drug-related, or a combination of both.

“Hopefully we change it by getting to the kids when they're younger, getting to them before they get into the gangs, before they get involved in illegal activities,” Morgan said. 

Other local leaders were vocal about the violence as well. 

“I'm outraged over this violence, and I'm frustrated because the location of much of this violence is along University Boulevard near Fort Caroline, where we have so many good things happening in Arlington,” said Councilman Ron Salem. 

“It breaks my heart that our kids are looking for safe places to play, and instead of finding a game filled with a lot of fun and a lot of safe environments, they're finding themselves ducking and dodging bullets,” said Councilman Terrance Freeman. “I've said it before. And I'll say it again - we can and we will do better.”

Marc Griffin is a local pastor and serves as chair of the city’s Crime Reduction Safety Commission. 

“It is not a matter of what side of town you live on,” Griffin said. “When crime breaks out in any part of Jacksonville, it is not that particular community’s problem. It is a Jacksonville problem.”

Sheriff Mike Williams and Mayor Lenny Curry’s office are expected to make an announcement next week to introduce new steps and technology to combat community violence.  

Morgan is also holding a town hall for District 1, which covers the Arlington neighborhood. The meeting will be held on Monday, October 26, and Morgan said she will discuss some of the recent issues that have hurt the neighborhood.  

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.