Students fear retaliation after teen killed at party

First Coast High School students go back to school, mourn football player


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Monday was an emotional day for students at First Coast High School.

It was their first day back since one of their classmates was shot and killed at an after-prom party on Saturday night. Police are still trying to track down the person who shot two teenagers.

Johnnel Johnson, an 18-year-old football player at First Coast High, died of his injuries.

Johnson's classmates wore black to school Monday in his honor. Many students and faculty found themselves overcome with grief, crying uncontrollably in classrooms as they mourned Johnson's death.

Johnnel Johnson
Johnnel Johnson

"Kids coming to school are breaking out crying. One girl broke out in the auditorium, and that broke my heart," student Elishah Jones said. "They are really going through (a hard time)."

Students said they are counting on Jacksonville sheriff's officers to arrest Johnson's killer soon. Some said they worry about retaliation.

"Even at the candlelight vigil, people said, 'I'm going to do this and that,' and I don't think that's a good idea," student Maurice Daniels said. "If you retaliate, then you are no better than the person who did it, so it wouldn't be right to go looking for this man looking to kill him. And then this crew will try to kill you, and that's just a repeating story that will never end."

Close friends said Johnson had a bright future ahead of him, both in school and sports. His teammates wore his football number, No. 29, Monday, as a reminder of all the talent that was lost.

"He was always laughing and smiling," Daniels said. "Even when there was something wrong at home, he came no matter what."

The football team's first spring practice was held Monday, and according to students, the coach and Johnson's teammates talked about the shooting death. News4Jax was told that standardized testing was canceled for the day.  

Anyone who has any information on the shooting is asked to contact 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, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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