Bullets shatter peace for mom, 3-year-old daughter
Mom tells police she thinks gang members targeted wrong house
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Northside home was riddled with nearly 75 bullet holes with a 3-year-old girl and her mother inside the home.
The mother, a Jacksonville lawyer, told police she thought her house on Lancashire Drive in the Waterbrook Falls subdivision near Interstate 295 and New Kings Road was wrongly targeted by gang members.
Jeanine Herrington said at least 25 shots were fired at her home and most of the bullets left multiple holes from one side of her home to the other.
"I got in the shower and then I heard glass shatter. It was like crackling noise I could heard something hitting the house and looking at the door I saw the holes start coming in the wall. I hit the floor, crawled to my daughter and she was watching TV," said Herrington. "When I was crawling it was till going, I snatched her down and stayed on the ground and laid in the hallway."
She's horrified at how easily one of the bullets could have killed her or her daughter.
"If she had been up here playing, she possibly could have been hit," said Herrington, pointing to the bullet-riddled walls of her daughter's playroom.
The little girl, Janae Blackman, escaped injury but is still very aware of the danger. She said she thought bats were flying through her house.
"A bullet went through one of her first Happy Mother's Day gifts, right there," Herrington said, picking up a bright pink construction paper project with a hole through one of the red handprints painted on it.
Herrington said she'd just gotten into the shower when she heard glass shattering.
"It was like a crackling noise. I could hear something that was hitting the house," Herrington said. "I didn't know what. While I was turned looking at the door, I just saw the holes start coming in the wall. I hit the floor, crawled outside, crawled to my daughter. She was sitting there watching TV."
Herrington said the shots were still slicing through the house as she crawled to Janae, so she stayed low to the ground, pulled Janae off the chair she was sitting on, and they crawled to the hallway and laid down.
"I was right there eating my food -- McDonald's -- and I was scared, and then we went in the hall," Janae said. "(I heard) the boom-boom shots."
According to the police report, a neighbor across the street heard the gunshots, ran outside and saw the shooters. When they saw him, they got in their car and took off.
The bullet holes they left can be seen from one side of the house to the other. There are holes in the doorways, walls and windows, in the bedroom, living room and bathroom -- all the way through to exit holes in the back wall of the house.
"My sister, she's a taxpayer. She's a law-abiding citizen, and at this time of the year, she's also a voter," said Jelani Herrington, who's a police officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. "And now, it just makes you look to see who are you going to vote for that's going to protect your city, your house, your family."
Janae said she hasn't been able to sleep since the shooting "because the boom-boom shots just come" and she's still scared.
"Here's the aftermath of an innocent family being targeted by gang violence that shouldn't have happened," Jelani Herrington said. "They say they want to take a stand on gang violence -- here it is right here. When it's your family, then you'll understand how it feels."
Jeanine Herrington said the shooting is the second time gang members struck her house. About a month ago, she found gang signs spray-painted on the back of the house (pictured, left).
It was a different story for the families of 13-year-old Jazmine Shelton and 14-year-old Megan Simmons (pictured below) almost two years ago. They were killed during a sleepover when bullets were fired into their mobile home in Northwest Jacksonville.
Their loved ones are still feeling the pain of that day.
Crystal Westberry shares the concern of the Herrington family -- people firing shots into homes. No one was ever arrested in the killing of her friend's daughter, Jazmine, but she hopes the Herrington family has a better outcome.
"Hopefully they'll catch whoever did it," Westberry said. "It's crazy how people just want to shoot up houses, especially with kids and stuff in them, especially when they have nothing to do with whatever went on. They're just there at the wrong time."
The police report about the Herrington incident said gang members posted a Facebook message saying that they were going to "commit a shooting" an hour before the incident. And an hour after the shooting, they posted again, saying "touchdown."
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