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JEA adds lights to scene of restaurant shooting

City requested change after 20-year-old gunned down behind Blind Rabbit

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a 20-year-old restaurant employee was gunned down behind the Blind Rabbit in Riverside, while taking out the trash Wednesday night, the city has requested that JEA install more street lights in the area.

JEA workers added three street lights Friday to the area where Daniel Rowe was killed.

Daniel Rowe
Daniel Rowe

Rowe (pictured) was shot twice in the head about 10 p.m. in an alley behind the restaurant at the corner of King and College streets. He was transported to UF Health Jacksonville, where he died.

The restaurant has also added security lighting outside to make the area safer. The Blind Rabbit was closed Thursday but reopened Friday, about 36 hours after Rowe's killing.

"There is not enough light in the area. They're truly isn't," said Steven Rowe, Daniel's father. "Especially behind the restaurant in the alleyways and the side streets, there's not enough lighting."

Police have only vague descriptions of two men seen running after the shooting.

Steven Rowe and his wife, Raelyn, said they're very concerned that the gunmen have not been caught. They're asking anyone with information to come forward.

"My son was taken by two pieces of trash," Steven Rowe said. "They were cowards."

"We just want justice for him," Raelyn Rowe said. "We just want anyone who saw or hears a whisper now about something  -- I don't care what it is -- I just want (them) to call and let the police know. We just want these men brought in."

Undersheriff Pat Ivey said police have received some information from the community that seems promising to help track down the killers, but he did not provide specifics on the tips.

Steven Rowe is a chef at Kickbacks, across the street, and ran over as soon as he heard about the shooting. They wouldn't let him ride in the rescue unit, but as soon as he got to the hospital, doctors told him his son had already been revived twice. He didn't want him to suffer any more.

"I was the first person to hold him when he was born and was holding his hand when his heart stopped." he said. "He would do anything for anybody. That's what he was doing last night. One of the guys at work was taking out the trash, and he offered to help, and it was just the wrong place at the wrong time. All I know, he was the greatest guy you could ever meet."

Daniel's parents said they've learned that as the two were taking out the trash, Daniel went outside to the alley first and when shots rang out, the coworker ran outside after him.

Daniel Rowe had two children, 4 years and 7 months old, and was engaged to be married. The couple were expecting a third child.

"I have a 4-year-old granddaughter who doesn't understand why her daddy hasn't come home from work," Steven Rowe said.

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Friends, families and customers brought flowers and left notes of remembrance and sympathy taped to Rowe's bicycle, which remained chained to a street sign in front of the restaurant Friday.

Rowe's fiancee and his future mother-in-law stopped by to add their notes Thursday. 

"I just told him that he is special to me and to my husband, and I will do the best we can to help Britney and the babies," said Desiree Saavedra, his fiancee's mother. "I left a note from his two girls, saying that they loved daddy and that Britney and Daniel were forever in love."

Rowe's parents said he loved his two daughters and had another child on the way.

"He woke up every day to take care of his daughters and help his girlfriend take care of the kids," Steven Rowe said. "He had a heart of gold. He would do anything for anybody if they asked; (he) never questioned it."

Friends have set up a GoFundMe memorial account for Rowe. By Friday afternoon, it had raised nearly $7,000.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.


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