Police: Gun found near scene of officer-involved shooting

Community demands justice at rally just blocks away

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A loaded gun was found in Springfield Thursday, but it's believed to be unrelated to Sunday's officer-involved shooting, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Officers at the scene told News4Jax they were only there to "make sure the neighborhood is safe."

The gun was found just one block away from the intersection of Liberty and 9th streets, where a 22-year-old man was fatally shot by a police officer Sunday afternoon after a head-on crash with the officer's cruiser.

Vernell Bing Jr. was shot once in the side of the head after leading officers on 3.7-mile high-speed chase that ended when it appeared he intentionally struck the officer's cruiser on a Springfield street, according JSO. The Sheriff's Office said no gun was found on Bing or in his car.

Just down the street from where the gun was found, supporters of Bing's family gathered for a rally Thursday evening.

James Muhammad, president and educator of the New Black Panthers, said the black race should not have to choose between "liberation or death."

"No justice, no peace," Muhammad chanted with others at the rally. 

Pastor R.L. Gundy said rallies will be necessary as the community continues to demand justice.

"We've been hollering on this for years. I'm not going to try to stop these young people from marching. I'm not going to try and stop them from protesting," Gundy said.

Bing's grandmother attends Gundy's church and he said he sides with Bing's family. Gundy said no one should be treated like an animal, which is why he's been asking the city to make changes since 2004.

"We want a citizens review board in the community. And the City Council has the power to do it. They have the legislative power and they control the purse of the sheriff," Gundy said.

Gundy said the recent officer-involved shooting is another example of why the Sheriff's Office must install police body cameras for the protection of residents and JSO officers. 

Justice League United files formal request for FBI to investigate

News4Jax also spoke with Bobby Worthy, president of the Justice League United, who filed a formal request with the FBI Thursday to have the incident investigated. 

VIEW: Justice League United request for FBI to investigate shooting

The formal request argues that the "Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has a history of shooting unarmed black men with no officer ever being indicted."

The request goes on to say that the organization "respectfully requests that the U.S. Attorney's Office investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the homicide of Vernell Bing Jr., and the policies, practices and procedures of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office."

Worthy said enough is enough.

"I'm hoping that the feds come and take over the whole investigation. What I really want is for them to take over the entire investigation because I think that Angela Corey and the Sheriff's Office have something going on. They have never, from what I know, they have never prosecuted one officer for a wrongful shooting of someone," Worthy said. 

The request was initially brought to the State Attorney's Office, which then notified Worthy that he had to submit the request to the FBI. The FBI will not review the request though until the investigation is approved.