School lockdowns on back-to-back days prompt calls for change
Triple shooting, fight among teens force lockdowns at 3 Arlington schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After three Arlington area schools were placed on lockdown two days in a row because of police investigations, city leaders are calling for change.
Three men were shot Thursday afternoon at an apartment building on Alderman Road, which is just behind Lone Star High School -- a charter school on Lone Star Road.
Police activity in the area forced Terry Parker High School, Arlington Middle School and Parkwood Elementary School to go on Code Red lockdown. A fight among 15-20 high school students Wednesday morning a couple blocks away at another apartment complex resulted in a lockdown of the same schools.
“You just never want anything like this to happen to our kids,” said City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, who represents the area.
There was an increased police presence near the schools Friday, and residents were on edge.
“My kids are grown now, but if they weren't, I wouldn't put them in these schools,” said one woman, who declined to be identified.
She said their should have been more police in the area before the shooting.
“Patrol the area more. Watch what's going on. We have police officers that hang out at the school and stuff. They should be monitoring what these kids are doing,” the woman 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.
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."
Morgan said that while police investigate Thursday's triple shooting, she's left with questions about the state of her district.
“There are so many questions that need to be answered. Questions that right now, I don't have answers to,” Morgan said. “Was this just what we do? Just hanging out? Going after somebody? Retaliation?”
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.
Morgan said one thing people living in the area can agree on is a need for people to be active in the community.
“For 2017, look at how we bring pride back into our neighborhood. How do we bring pride back?” Morgan said.
The unnamed neighbor said she's on board with that plan.
“I think that the community needs to get into that role again like it used to be, because the kids need us,” she said. “They're all our children. They're not my children or your children. They're everybody's children, and we should all be looking out for them.”
Morgan said she tries to have community town halls every month and would like to know the concerns of the Arlington community.
“Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Be aware of your surroundings. Know what's going on in your neighborhood. Be a part of your neighborhood,” Morgan 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.
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