Search continues for alleged school bus shooter

Pastor offers $3,000 reward for arrest

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police have obtained an arrest warrant for a 16-year-old Hispanic boy accused of firing five shots into a school bus Thursday afternoon. Two of the bullets struck teenage girls on the bus.

Edgar Robles is charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of firing deadly missiles.  The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Police said Robles ran after the shooting and spent Thursday afternoon trying to elude police and destroying evidence. He never returned to his home.

Robles' mother was shocked that her son was involved, provided photos of him to police and is cooperating with investigators.

Robles is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. While first described by witnesses as a black teenager, police said Friday he is Hispanic.

"Obviously, Mr. Robles knew what he was doing," JSO director Tom Hackney said. "The sooner he is off the streets, the sooner the citizens of Jacksonville are safe."

Police asked anyone with information about Robles' location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. 

A woman who said she knows Robles told News4Jax she saw him in her apartment complex between 8:30 and 9 p.m. Thursday, but she didn't know he was wanted for a shooting until detectives came around Friday morning asking about him.

"He showed me a picture on his phone," said the woman who only wanted to be identified as Mary. "I was just surprised myself."

Police said Robles has a history of hanging around the Gregory Walk Apartments. Detectives said he has no vehicle and no car, so it would be difficult for him to go far.

"No one should be assisting Mr. Robles right now and trying to help protect him, trying to hide him," said Gil Smith, News4Jax's crime and safety analyst. "The best thing to do is call police, because you don't want to get caught up in this and harboring a fugitive, that type of thing. I know sometimes young people don't really understand the type of trouble they can get in for doing that."

Social media flooded with posts from groups such as M.A.D. D.A.D.S. and even the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, asking for Robles to turn himself in. However, one local pastor decided to make a deal with whomever brings Robles to the police.

Pastor Ken Adkins is now offering $3,000 of his own money to anyone who turns the suspect in. 

"Call the police, turn him in, let's just turn him in and get the danger off of the streets so that whoever is harboring him will not deal with fear and guilt later in life," said Adkins. "It's important that we send a message to the bad guys, that the good people are not going to sit back and allow you all to take over our community."

Investigators believe the shooting was retaliation for a crash that killed another teenager last year. Police said Robles was looking to shoot specific boys who were on the bus. Someone on the bus was providing turn-by-turn updates on the buses' location.

"So as the bus stops; the suspect outside -- Robles -- began yelling at the victims inside of the bus to come out so they can complete their fight and settle their beef. The suspect was outside of the bus when an unknown person from inside the bus spit out of the window and hit the suspect," Hackney said, saying that's when Robles pulled the gun. "The alert bus driver sees the suspect, knows about what's going on and sees a gun in the suspect's hand. She's able to floor the bus and begin to leave the scene about the time the suspect starts shooting."

UNCUT: JSO Director Hackney gives details of school bus shooting

The shooting happened just after 4 p.m. near the intersection of 118th and Catoma streets. Police said the bus driver continued about 1.3 miles to the intersection of 118th and Blanding Boulevard before calling 911.

Hackney said two of the five shots from a .380-caliber handgun fired at the bus stop at Ringhaver Park on 118th Street struck the bus -- each girl was hit by one of the bullets. Hackney said if there was any good news about the incident, it was that the injuries could have been worse if a larger-caliber weapon was used.

"Our detectives have found no gang affiliation with any of the parties we have involved in this," Hackney said.

State Attorney Angela Corey told News4Jax that more and more kids are using guns to solve their problems.

"We've been concerned about this type of violence for a long time," Corey said. "We have been trying to go hard and (get) tough on gun crimes, and we've taken a lot of criticism for that. We are never going to back down from prosecuting people who commit crimes like this."

Girls on bus both struck in head

The two victims of Thursday's shooting were reported in stable condition Friday morning at UF Health Jacksonville. Police still have not released the names of the victims, but the mothers of the girls have identified them as Ayana Sherman and Shakayla Singleton.

News4Jax learned that Singleton was released Friday afternoon. 

Sherman's mother, Shameika Asberry, said her daughter had surgery and remained unconscious into the morning, but doctors said she will recover.

"She got shot in the back of the head. They were able to take the bullet out, but she does have a fractured skull," Asberry said. "The school board came around to talk to me last night. They apologized and said they were sorry for what happened." 

Duval County School Board police were assigned Friday to follow all buses going to and from Grand Park Center, Mattie V. Rutherford Alternative Education Center and James Weldon Johnson Academic Career Training Center. Extra officers were also at the schools Friday, as well as grief counselors.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.