Ex-First Coast High football player killed in shooting

Host of Arlington house party disputes police account of deadly shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The person killed in a triple shooting early Sunday in Arlington was a 19-year-old former First Coast High School football player.

Mikel Stewart, who had previously attended Raines, was shot and killed just before 2 a.m. Sunday on Cocoa Avenue near Atlantic and Southside boulevards.

According to his friends, Stewart loved football and played on a Pop Warner team when he was a student at Lakeshore Middle School.

Police said the shooting happened during a house party. Two other victims were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive. Their names have not been released.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the people attending the party were between the ages of 17 and 25.

Neighbors and the man who hosted the party said the shooting actually happened down the street from where the party was taking place.

Ricky, who declined to give his last name, said there were somewhere between 50 and 70 people at his party. He said the shooting happened so far down the street that they didn't even hear the gunshots.

“Some people in here didn't even know what happened,” Ricky said. “They was still in here when the police pulled up.”

Ricky also said that he believes no one at the party was underage.

“A lot of people got denied to come into the party, like if you didn't look like you were old enough or if we didn't know you,” Ricky said. “We try to keep it like a college type of vibe, so we keep a good atmosphere.”

Ricky said police questioned everyone at his party. Investigators were at the scene for hours.

Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti issued a statement about Stewart's death:

"The First Coast High School community and Duval County Public Schools are deeply saddened by the recent passing of one of its former students, and our sympathies are with his family and friends during this time."

Stewart is the third First Coast High School student shot and killed in the past year.

Johnnel Johnson, 18, was shot and killed in May at a house party in Arlington.

Jaquon Reeves, a 17-year-old sophomore, was shot and killed at Sheffield Park on the Northside in May.

Police are still searching for Sunday's shooter. And Stewart's friends are still searching for answers.

After the shooting -- one friend posted on Facebook: "Wake me up from this dream.” Another post said, "one thing u cant do is rewind time."

“It's so sad,” Ricky said. “I mean, my condolences to the whole family.”

A Crime Stoppers sign has been posted in the neighborhood where the shooting took place. Anyone with information about the deadly shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.