1 teenage girl dead, 2nd critical after overnight drive-by shooting
Sheriff Rutherford: 'I saw dozens of bullet holes. This has to stop.'
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police are investigating a drive-by shooting early Saturday morning at a Northwest Jacksonville home where a 13-year-old girl was killed and a second teenager critically injured.
Police said five people were inside when dozens of shots were fired into a mobile home on Missouri Avenue about 4:45 a.m. Saturday.
Jazmine Shelton was shot and killed while in the living room, according to police.
The second victim, 14-year-old Megan Simmons, was also shot and was taken to UF Health in critical condition. Police said she may not survive.
Homicide investigators said the girls are not related, and the mother of the teen killed was in the house at the time of the shooting.
Jazmine's mother, Pancy Shelton, spoke Saturday night with Channel 4 about the love she has for her daughter, and the reality that she'll never see her again.
"She wasn't but 13 years old, had her whole life ahead of her," Shelton said, "and she was just an amazing child."
Shelton said Jazmine (pictured, right) would've soon started school at Lakeshore Middle. She said she was kind and caring, and had a way with people.
"She had a good sense of humor. She would make you laugh. She has the most beautiful smile," said Shelton. "I'd love to see her smile again."
In front of the home stands a small memorial in honor of both girls. For Shelton, her thoughts are now on what she's lost, and all that she will miss.
"I will never see my daughter have kids," said Shelton. "I will never be able to see her get married, a career, learn to drive a car, all of that was taken from me."
Sheriff John Rutherford told reporters this was not a random act of violence.
"I saw dozens of bullet holes in the walls of this trailer, which shows just how violent this shooter or shooters were. This has got to stop," Rutherford said in an emotional Saturday morning news conference. "I'm angry and upset, it's hard to talk about, a 13- and 14-year-old shot in their home, when they did absolutely nothing wrong."
The sheriff is appealing to the community to come forward with information that could lead to an arrest.
"Please call us if you have any information about this crime at 904-630-0500. Even if you think it's not important, you call us, we are going to get justice for these two young girls," said Rutherford.
The sheriff also says fighting crime is tougher with limited resources.
"We absolutely have to fund public safety in this community, policing takes resources. It's no coincidence when we had 1,750 officers we had the lowest number of murders in years. We've been labeled the murder capital of the state of Florida. And our violent crimes dropped to the lowest we ever recorded in 2011, and then we began to pull back from public safety. We've got to arrest these criminals before they can kill someone," said Rutherford.
Rutherford told reporters his department is operating without 147 service officers and 92 community officers because they are not funded. Fighting back tears the sheriff at times the Sheriff appealed for the public's help.
"Two young girls in their teens were shot down inside that trailer. Someone indiscriminately fired into that living room. This has got to stop," said Rutherford.
Residents in the north Jacksonville neighborhood are devastated after hearing about the drive-by shooting.
Channel 4 spoke with one woman who said she knows Jazmine's mother.
"The only thing I could do is bust out into tears, 'cause she said she can't live without her daughter," said Crystal Westberry. "It was so terrible."
Rutherford also said this shooting reminded him of the 2006 murder of 8-year-old DreShawna Davis (pictured, left). He's asking for the public's help in finding out who did this.
Anyone who has any information that could help police is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
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