JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office continues to search Tuesday for whoever killed two teenagers in Northwest Jacksonville Monday afternoon, the father of one of the victims is mourning the loss of his son.
Homicide detectives believe two teenagers were shot during a gun battle about 2 p.m. Monday on Second Avenue, with one victim found dead in the street where it happened and a second dead in a car whose driver flagged down a police officer 1.4 miles away at the Popeye's restaurant on Lem Turner Road.
Malcolm Tyrod Belt, 18, and Christopher Carter Mikell, 17, both died in the shootout, police said.
David Shingles, Belt's father, told News4Jax he's upset and doesn't know what to do. He said his son made good grades and was an athlete who used to go to Ed White High School but recently, he started hanging out with people he shouldn't have.
"It's just sad that his life ended, got cut so short," said Shingles, who's still in shock. "I just talked to him. He was talking about trying to find him a job and maybe he should leave the city."
Investigators believe the driver of a blue Subaru who waved down a police officer on Lem Turner Road was headed to the hospital when he stopped for help. A passenger in the vehicle suffered a fatal gunshot wound.
The driver was not injured and was cooperating with investigators.
Investigators are still working to determine exactly what happened but believe the shootings were possibly gang-related.
"It could be gang or group; we don't know," said Lt. Ellis Burns with JSO's Violent Crimes Task Force.
But Shingles does not believe that was the case.
"You know everybody's going to speculate but I'm not going to speak on any of that because I don't know. As far as I knew, my son told me he wasn't in a gang. I asked him about it and he said he wasn't. So I'm going to leave it at that," Shingles said.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said he's trying to cut down on the violence and wants more community involvement on crime issues.
"A day like yesterday can really take the wind out of your sails but I can tell you we are moving forward, we are making progress, and I look forward to the success that we're going to have," Williams said.
Belt's dad said he wants answers and justice.
"I never would have seen this from when he was a baby, I never could've thought that his life could end like this, you know. It's hard," he said. "But he's in a better place right now."
With these two victims, there have now been 31 homicides in Jacksonville since the beginning of the year.
Anyone with information about Monday's shooting is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.