Family speaks about 15-year-old's death

Body found on Melvin Circle East Sunday night


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bryant Layfield's family spoke to News4Jax Monday night about the teen's death.   The 15-year-old boy was found shot to death on the Westside late Sunday night, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police responded to Melvin Circle East, near Interstate 295 and 103rd Street, about 10:35 p.m. and found Layfield shot. Police said he died at the scene.

Layfield's uncle, Dillion Barber, told News4Jax about his nephew Monday night. 

"He was a good kid," Dillion Barber said. "He's always done good in school. He was kind of mad when he got transferred out of here and into Jacksonville, but he wasn't too down about it. He liked school. He played football and basketball." 

"I'm 23, and he's 15. It's an eight-year difference. So I was a kid when he was a kid," said Layfield's uncle Mark Barber. "So I mean, we've always been right there for each other. He's more like a brother. He grew up around us all. We all took care of him. We all did everything. We'd do anything for each other."   

Layfield's uncles told News4Jax that it was Layfield's stepmother, Christy Files, who found him shortly after the shooting.  

A neighbor in the area talked to the Files shortly after the shooting.

"She just said there was a shot, and she went outside, and she picked him up and took him inside. First, she said she thought he was joking and she didn't think it was serious. Then she realized he was in serious trouble," said the woman, who asked that her name not be used.

"You can't even say. It's real horrible," Mark Barber said. "He's only 15 years old."

Police don't have any suspect information. They did not have any other details of the shooting.

People in the area said their hearts go out to the boy's mother.

"I couldn't believe a 15-year-old boy was dead, to start with, and that hit us hard because these kids, we didn't know 'em that well but we liked 'em," said Tom Browning, who lives in the area.

Browning said Layfield had siblings and played with other kids in the neighborhood.

"What I know about him -- he stayed out a lot of the time with 'em. He played football with 'em, basketball, and other kids around here saw him walking around here," Browning said. "Never gave a problem to anyone. They were always polite to us, always respectful to people in the neighborhood."

Neighbors hope the killer will be caught.

"I'm going to pray that God will guide the policemen to find who's doing this," neighbor B. Herman said. "God is greater than all things. I know that. I trust God, and he's going to guide them to find the person. Thank you, Lord. I know."

Anyone who has any information about the killing is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000, call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.