Slain teens' families demonstrate for justice
Killer has not been identified in shooting deaths of Jacksonville teens
Tuesday marks five months since two teenage girls were shot and killed inside a home on the Northside. Police have yet to name any suspects or make any arrests.
That’s why the victims' families gathered Tuesday morning for a demonstration at the Duval County Courthouse called Justice for Megan and Jazmine.
They want to try and generate some more awareness about the case and, in turn, hopefully bring in some more information from the public for investigators.
"Along with my sister's there are many other cases that are unsolved, with no leads, no suspects, no one in custody, no one in questioning," said Robin Lezcano, Bass' sister. "So we wanted to put the pressure on the public to speak up if they know anything if they have any information on any of these cases."
The families are doing everything they can to keep the case and the girls’ names in the news until whoever killed them is arrested.
"I wonder if it's just, if it's someone covering for someone at this point," Lezcano said. "How is it, like with our case, how is it people are out through the night and no one saw anything, no one heard anything? That does not add up to anything. There is just no way. Nothing is going to come from this."
At just 13 and 14 years old, two best friends, Jazmine Shelton and Megan Simmons, were shot and killed when someone fired multiple shots into the Biltmore mobile home they were in.
"I want the people involved caught that has done this to my daughter and to the beautiful young girl that was with her," said Pancy Shelton, Jazmine’s mother. "They were best friends. I want justice served, and I want somebody to come out and talk.”
On top of dealing with their deaths, the families of Jazmine and Megan have had to beg for answers and any information, which could lead to the person who shot and killed them.
“It's showing just how violent this shooter or shooters were. This has got to stop,” said Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.
Rutherford held a news conference hours after the shooting happened Aug. 10, saying he believed the home was targeted and that two people fired the shots then ran. For the past several months, it’s been the girls’ families holding events and news conferences in hopes of generating some new information.
"Even if you think that information you have is just minute in nature, give it to the police. Sometimes that's all they need is a little minute tip that can lead them to the person,” said Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson.
The demonstration was also to bring awareness to other unsolved killings in Jacksonville. Just this year, there have been 89 killings, 47 of which are still unsolved.
"It's up to the public to come forward, feel that conviction and come forward," Lezcano said. "It's their civic duty. There are people losing their lives every day. If we want this to get better, we got to speak up, we got to be proactive, not reactive."
Simmons' family wonders why no arrests have been made.
"In my heart, I believe (police) need to be doing more," said Neta Sessions, Simmons' aunt. "We have been told they are doing as much as they can, but as a family member and parent, in our eyes it's not enough."
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it can't comment on ongoing investigations but applauds what the families are doing by bring awareness to the cases. It believes more information will come forward to help solve the crimes.
Anyone with any information about the killings is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
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