12-year-old recovering after drive-by shooting
Girl afraid to return to NW Jacksonville home where she and mom were shot
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 12-year-old girl who was shot along with her mother when more than 20 bullets were fired into their Northwest Jacksonville home before dawn Sunday is recovering.
Her father told News4Jax the girl is able to walk around now, and she and her mother should be out of the hospital in a week.
Julia Rubright and her mother, Sheryl Rubright, were shot while they were sleeping in a front bedroom of their home on Hilly Road in Northwest Jacksonville. Sheryl Rubright was shot twice in the leg. Julia was hit in the stomach and leg.
Father and husband Chris Rubright, who was sleeping on the couch, didn't realize it until later that his leg was grazed by a bullet.
"They’re shocked," he said Monday. "You can’t erase that kind of shock, that kind of pain, you know?"
Chris Rubright said his daughter is now too scared to return to her home.
"She won't come back here. She's scared," he said. "She doesn't have any enemies. She's a Christian. She loves the Lord. She doesn't understand any of this."
Chris Rubright walked News4Jax through the home Sunday evening, pointing out all the bullet holes.
He said he was sleeping on the couch.
“All I heard was my wife screaming 'Honey, honey, you know, the baby has been shot,' and she hollered for dad, and I dove on them and I got them on the floor. I got them back here and as soon as I got them back here, I hit the street," Chris Rubright said.
Rubright said he feels guilty that he couldn't protect his family.
“I should have been right there, I should have been right there taking the bullets, that’s where I should have been," he said.
He said he and his wife, their adult son, Julia and their 1-year-old grandson were all inside the home at the time, but only his wife and daughter were hit by gunfire.
"Honestly, this is a cowardly act. Anyone who would sneak up on a house at 6 a.m. on a Sunday and do this is a coward in my book," Assistant Chief Scott Dingee said.
Chris Rubright said he's deaf in one ear and didn't hear the gunshots, but he'll always remember his wife's screams.
“It’s bone-chilling. It’s the worst thing ever and it’s all I can hear and I can’t even imagine how they are affected through this," he said.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office believes this shooting was drug related, but Chris Rubright doesn't know why thee family would be targeted.
“I have no idea. I don’t have any bad blood with anyone, my wife doesn’t, my daughter obviously doesn’t," he said. "I’ve been here my whole life, never had any problems. You know, we love the Lord. We follow the Lord."
Rubright said his oldest daughter is in jail and speculated that the shooting might have something to do with that, but he doesn't know for certain.
“Sometimes they do get the wrong house, but many cases people involved in the drug trade or in gangs, they will scout the house out first, to look for a car the person may drive or let them know the person may be there," News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith said. "They will fire shots and in so many cases like this, so many times innocent people are hurt or killed.”
Smith also said that sometimes the shooters aren't necessarily the people directly involved in the original dispute.
"It could be a relative of that person who was upset with them, and then they may come back and retaliate, and you just see the back and forth continue, and it’s a long time before it ends," Smith said.
The Rubrights moved into the rental house months ago, but they are now making plans to move out.
"I’ve got a 12-year-old that will never be able to walk in this yard again, you know; on this street again. Even on this side of town. I don’t know," Chris Rubright said.
"I don’t have a car. I don’t have a house to bring my daughter home to, so, it’s a mad dash to see if someone in Jacksonville will help out a little bit," he said.
JSO said a small dark-colored car was seen speeding off from that area early Sunday morning, but investigators do not have a suspect description. Police said the car had a loud custom muffler.
“Somebody knows something. Somebody loaded that gun. Somebody put that gun up for somebody. Somebody talked to that person. Somebody bragged about that," Chris Rubright said. "Just, please, make a phone call. Be a man. Be a woman. I sure would like to know who shot my daughter.”
Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
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