JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three men were shot Thursday afternoon at an apartment building near an Arlington high school, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
No arrests have been made in the triple shooting, but police said they will be interviewing seven people, including the three victims and four others who have been detained for questioning. The victims are between the ages of 22 and 25, police said.
The shooting took place about 1:40 p.m. on the property of the Azalea Ridge Apartments on Alderman Road, which is just behind Lone Star High School -- a charter school on Lone Star Road.
While officers were responding to the scene, they learned that two of the victims had already been taken to a hospital. As of last check, one was in critical condition at UF Health and the other was treated and released, and was at police headquarters being questioned.
“We were informed that two individuals had actually been shot and that they were being placed inside vehicles and being transported to the hospital," said JSO Lt. Rickie Valentine.
While police were processing the scene, officers found a car believed to have been involved in the shooting at nearby Arlington Eagle Apartments on Alderman Road, where a foot pursuit ended with the capture of three people.
"One of the individuals was later determined to also have a gunshot wound," Valentine said.
The third victim was then taken to UF Health for treatment.
The Sheriff's Office Dive Team was called to search for evidence in a nearby retention pond, where police believe a gun was tossed.
"There was more than one weapon. I don't know the calibers," Valentine said, adding that investigators found multiple shells, proving that multiple shots had been fired.
According to Valentine, there are no indications Thursday's shooting was gang-related. But he added that the several scenes within about a half-mile of each other were making the case very difficult to investigate.
“We’re being told a vehicle leaves the scene, that changes to two scenes. Then we got a third vehicle that’s now being said that was transporting a victim, well now that’s a third scene," Valentine said. "Then subsequently we have a scene that was our fourth scene. So now got four scenes. That is manpower intensive."
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith agreed that multiple crime scenes make it harder for investigators to crack the case, but he said there is a silver lining.
“One thing that will help is that they have a couple of victims who are able to talk to police. One is already in police custody, and hopefully that person is cooperative. They can get a handle on this and finds out exactly who started all this and exactly what happened during the entire incident," Smith said.
Due to police activity, Terry Parker High School, Arlington Middle School and Parkwood Elementary School were placed on Code Red lockdown.
Valentine said it was unknown whether the triple shooting was connected to a fight among 15-20 high school students Wednesday morning a couple blocks away at another apartment complex, which resulted in a lockdown of the same schools.
There were witness reports of shots fired in Wednesday's incident, but there were no injuries and JSO evidence technicians could not locate any shell casings.
A woman, whose daughter lives at the Azalea Ridge Apartments, said she's tired of the violence.
"I fear for her safety and my grandchildren because every day you hear bullets here. Every day, I hear bullets when I visit her. So it's pretty bad. I think that something that needs to be done," Phyllis Fulton said.
According to the JSO crime-mapping website, there have been 22 crimes -- mostly vehicle break-ins and assaults -- reported within a half-mile of Azalea Ridge Apartments since early December.
Valentine said the “community was good to officers" Thursday, explaining that people have come forward with tips, some of them privately so they stay safe.
“We do need that information from them. It’s that key little piece that whatever they say to you guys, we need them to tell us to because those investigators need it," Valentine said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.