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Sheriff candidate spends night in Grand Park

Jefferson says he wants to connect with community; shooting happens nearby

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the candidates for sheriff spent the night in one of Jacksonville's most dangerous neighborhoods.

Ken Jefferson walked the streets of Grand Park Sunday night just hours before a double shooting.

Jefferson spent the night in a motorhome on West 28th Street about a mile and a half away from where a woman and boy were shot Sunday night at 11 p.m. They had minor injuries.

"Other than the shooting that happened not very far away this is what I expected to happen. The residents were happy to see us. They all came outside of their homes. They were walking out with us on the street," Jefferson said.

Jefferson said if he's elected sheriff May 19, his priority is to collaborate with neighborhoods to rebuild trust with the people.

He walked through Grand Park to meet with the people who live there and said many people live in fear and that makes him sick to his stomach.

"I understand the reasoning behind it, (but) over 90 percent of these homes have burglar bars," Jefferson said. "These people are prisoners in their own homes simply because of fear. They don't want anybody coming in when they're not there and that should be the concern of every person in our city, but they shouldn't have to live in that kind of fear over here."

Jefferson believes Grand Park is an area that has more victims to violent crimes than other neighborhoods in the city. He said trust needs to be built back up so the city can eventually kill the street code of silence.

"When I was a kid, this is what police officers did. They came out; they interacted with the community and they were a part of the community," Jefferson said. "We had great respect for law enforcement, and that's changed over the years, and we want to bring that back."