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Mass shooting survivor, family don't want to return to blood-covered apartment

Eureka Gardens' management: Family's request to transfer never received

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two months after a Jacksonville mother was shot multiple times on the front porch of her Eureka Gardens apartment in a mass shooting, she and her family are horrified that they have not been transferred to another housing project, saying their home is still covered in blood and bullet holes.

Jessica Nelson, 20, is still in the Intensive Care Unit at UF Health Jacksonville, fighting to stay alive. Her husband, John "Scotty" Lowman, has been sleeping at the hospital and their two daughters have been staying at his sister's home. 

Lowman told News4Jax that opening the door to the apartment is extremely difficult. 

"There's blood even on my daughter's bassinet. There's blood everywhere," Lowman said. 

Lowman said he hasn't even been able to attempt to clean up because of how emotional it is to go inside the apartment that still has bullet holes in the walls and the door. 

"It's too hard to walk in there. The memory of that night keeps coming back," he said. 

Officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development told the I-TEAM Wednesday that they would check with the property management company about the request, which the family placed six weeks ago, to have the place cleaned as well as transferring them to a different housing project. 

The management team called Nelson's mother, Brenda Nelson, on Wednesday, claiming it never received a request. But Nelson denied that. 

"Someone in your office told me that she could put in her 30-day notice, that you didn't transfer to other apartments, nor did you transfer out of the project," Nelson said. 

Nelson said the management team believes it was a "miscommunication." But she said two months to resolve the issue is too long, especially after what her daughter and their family has been through. 

"It's pretty sad, actually, that it took it going on the news and someone else to see it before it was brought to her attention, before anybody did anything. It's really sad," Nelson said. 

The mother said Jessica and her family moving into another unit could only be a temporary option. 

"Why would she want to still live here? Why would the girls want to be here? Why would anybody want to be here when this happened? I don't think I could sleep at night knowing," Nelson said.

The management company officials came to look inside the apartment Wednesday when the I-TEAM was at the property.

A spokesperson from the management company sent the following statement to the I-TEAM before contacting Nelson:

"To date, the family has not requested to be transferred to another unit at Eureka Gardens. Our office has spoken to Ms. Nelson’s mother about her condition, however, she did not mention transferring to another apartment. The gentleman the news is referring to as Jessica’s husband (Mr. Lowman)  came in last week to inquire about Jessica’s recertification process and he did not mention transferring, however, the article implies he is living in the unit, he is not on the lease.  We would gladly accommodate a transfer request for Ms. Nelson and will reach out to Ms. Nelson’s mother, who has been our contact through this incident.  Please let me know if there’s any other questions or concerns."

Eureka Gardens is still owned by the Global Ministries Foundation -- the subject of a year-long I-TEAM investigation. The property is in the process of being sold to another owner, based in Ohio, which promises to clean up the property and address the violence. 

Jessica and her family were sitting outside her Eureka Gardens apartment when police said three people opened fire on the group and she and six other people were wounded. No arrests have been made.

Police are still investigating the crime and ask anyone  with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Jessica's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to cover her medical expenses.