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Jacksonville's January homicide toll climbs to 12

Mayor, sheriff battle violence, focus on reaching youth

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A deadly shooting Thursday night and the murder of a Jacksonville woman found dead in Georgia brought the total number of homicides in the city so far this year to 12.

An 18-year-old who celebrated his birthday just days before was shot dead Thursday in the Southside Estates area of Arlington, police said. Another man was also hit by gunfire, but was expected to be OK, police said.

The mayor and sheriff have been working to try to decrease gun violence in Jacksonville, which was brought to the forefront again this month with a pair of double shootings at popular downtown venues.

RELATED: Jacksonville homicides so far in 2017

One of those left 16-year-old Khamoi Petersen dead after he was shot in front of the Jacksonville Landing on Jan. 16.

“We can't get too caught up in the stats, but clearly it's something we focus on and talk about every single day,” Sheriff Mike Williams said.

Mayor Lenny Curry specifically focused on teens, saying the community has to show teenagers that there are better options than guns.

“Here's what we know as to what happened recently on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: there were young people -- teenagers -- carrying guns. We have to get to them and show them and demonstrate to them that this is not the way forward,” he said. “I'm going to continue providing resources that are needed, and I'm personally going to be in the neighborhoods talking to young people as to why there's a better way forward.”

A week before Petersen was killed, 21-year-old Jahleel George was shot and killed inside his Westside home.

Danny Walker lives near George and said the crime scares him.

“Mind your business and they won't bother you, but once you stick your nose in their business, they're going to get you,” Walker said.

Last year, there were 120 homicides in Jacksonville, with 15 of those happening in January.

With only a few days left in the month, there have been 12 homicides reported in the city, and three of those victims were teenagers:

  • Kareem Hagan, 22
  • Marquis Luis Marquez, 17
  • Quinton Gray, 22
  • Keeble Grant, 61
  • Jahleel George, 21
  • Jason Bryan Horton, 25
  • Chauncey McNair, 31
  • Khamoi Petersen, 16
  • Miguel Angel Martinez-Sanchez, 26
  • Jacob Kellner, 23
  • Victortadao Maurice Hobbs Jr., 18
  • Janice Fulton, 74

Curry said youths need role models.

“Not every kid has a stable household and stable home,” Curry said. “As a city, we have to recognize that, acknowledge that, and we need to fill that gap.”