Man arrested in Westside shooting over drug deal

Victim hospitalized in critical condition

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Victor Howell
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Victor Howell

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 48-year-old Jacksonville man was arrested in connection with the shooting of another man early Sunday morning on the Westside.

Victor Howell is charged with aggravated battery. The victim was hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the chest.

Two witnesses told police the two were arguing over a drug deal at the home at 6303 Catoma Street when Howell went to a storage shed in the back of the property and returned with an assault rifle, according to a police report.

The witnesses said Howell pointed the rifle at the victim and shot him, according to the report.

The victim was taken to UF Health Jacksonville.

Police said the found Howell hours later at a nearby relative's house. They said he admitted to being at the scene but said he was threatened and returned to the shed only to get his cellphone and a beer.

Howell told police the victim produced a handgun and threatened him, then the two got in a physical struggle, resulting in the handgun discharging and striking the victim, according to the report.

Howell denied shooting the victim, police said. He was arrested and booked into the Duval County jail.

Howell is a convicted felon. He's been adjudicated three times, the last in November for dealing in stolen property.