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1 killed at Arlington party was teenager, sources say

Friends say person killed was high school football player

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police are investigating a double shooting at a house party in Arlington late Saturday night that left one person dead and sent another to the hospital.

Police said they were young adults, but friends tell News4Jax the person killed was Johnnel Johnson, a First Coast High School football player. According to witnesses, another classmate pulled the trigger.

The shooting happened about 11:45 p.m. as several young people were gathered at a house on Dawnridge Road South, just off University Club Boulevard. One victim died at the scene and the other was taken to UF Health Jacksonville.

Brad Whitford was at the party and describes the moments after the shooting.

"There was a man laying on the ground with blood everywhere," Whitford said. "Nobody called the police at first, they were scared and hopped on top of him to help try to get him to breathe trying to get him to focus."

Nick Tsoutsos knew the victim and his family.

"Just a nice family," Tsoutsos said.

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The Tsoutsos family tells News4Jax that Johnson (pictured) was shot to death Saturday night at the prom after-party.

Johnson was a junior at  First Coast and a cornerback on the football team.

"Johnnel was a great kid," Tsoutsos said. "He was really good at football. I tried out with the team with him and he was just a stellar student, great in school, loved his friends, very caring and compassionate. ... Just a great person overall, really."

Whitford said the issue between Johnson and the person he saw pull the trigger started a couple weeks ago.

"Apparently a couple kids gotten a fight a couple weeks back," Whitford said. "And they want to shoot it out tonight I mean they shot Johnnel right in the chest and shot his homeboy in his arm and a leg."

The other student shot is recovering in the hospital, but Johnson died inside the home where the party was held. Whitford said the teen who pulled the trigger is also a junior at First Coast High, and said this was not gang related.

"Everybody saw who did it and knows who did it," Whitford said. "There's really no hiding from it. everybody saw him the living room is only so big."

Whitford says Johnson was there only about 30 minutes before he was killed.

"It's crazy because his friends told him at first, 'Let's go because they're in there'," Whitford said. "And he was like, 'No, I don't think they want any problems. Let's just stay and have fun.'"

The Sheriff's Office has not confirmed that Johnson is the victim and has not released any suspect information. Homicide detectives said they were interviewing multiple witnesses and conducting interviews and processing the scene would take some time.

"All witnesses are being cooperative at this time," Sgt. C.H. Ford said. "We will be here through the rest of the night to continue to conduct scene investigation as well as follow through with the rest of the witnesses."

Police will likely officially release the names of those shot and other information on Monday.

Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.


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