Surviving victim of gunfire on life support
Jacksonville police responded to calls at home 29 times in 3 years
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family friends of the 14-year-old girl clinging to life after dozens of bullets were fired into a Northwest Jacksonville mobile home before dawn Saturday morning say Megan Simmons was shot in the head.
"She was shot in the head one time, and it went in one side and came out the other," said family friend Dawn Crosby.
The gunshots that landed Megan on life support killed her best friend, 13-year-old Jazmine Shelton.
Jacksonville police said Saturday they had no eyewitness, although one neighbor did hear the gunshots and saw a car speeding away.
"I'm hopeful somebody will say something," said Pancy Shelton, Jazmine's mother. "Somebody needs to go to the police. If they have any kind of information, let the police know so my daughter can rest in peace."
Crime Stoppers has increased the reward for information leading to an arrest to $4,000, hoping to get some leads in the case.
Investigators returned to the crime scene Tuesday. They said they believe the gunman targeted the home but probably not the young teenagers they hit.
"I hear like Fourth of July-like firecrackers," said neighbor Tammy Lamberton. "I said to my old man, 'Is that firecrackers?' He said, 'No, that was bullets."
Lamberton says she's not sure if the shooter fired from a car or actually walked up to the home.
Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson said whoever was pulling the trigger aimed low with the intention of killing someone inside.
"When you're talking about investigating a homicide without any eyewitnesses, it can prove to be difficult," Jefferson said. "So what investigators have to do is, they have to try to recreate the scene."
Jefferson said a police forensic team likely knows what kind of weapon was used, and they'll focus on the physical evidence and information from the survivors to try to lead them to the gunman.
"A lot of times, in their haste, criminals will leave some type of physical evidence that police can draw from or they can use that can help lead them to the identity of the suspects," Jefferson said. "I'm not certain in this case exactly what the police have, but you can rest assured that whatever the police have, they're going to keep it close to their vest right now, simply because they can't show their hand."
Police are also looking into the history of the family and the mobile home where the shooting happened.
Records released Monday afternoon show police visited the Shelton home on Missouri Avenue 29 times since September 2010. Fourteen of the calls to the Shelton home were for disputes, followed by four domestic, two animal incidents, two fights, a suicide and a missing person. The others were two unverified 911 calls and one each for assault, investigation and follow-up.
"They were here in the yard all the time," neighbor Lamberton said of the police. "Every time I see a blue light, I look out."
Lamberton and other neighbors said a relative of the Shelton family may have been the intended target.
"I really can't see how someone could do this to two little girls," said another neighbor, Dawn Crosby. "It just kills me knowing Megan is in the hospital fighting for her life and Jazmine's gone. It's too painful, really, to even think about it."
Jazmine Shelton's viewing will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Paxon Revival Center Church. Her funeral is set for 1 p.m. Friday at the church.
Anyone with any information about the killing of Shelton is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
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