JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the six homicides in Jacksonville in the first week of the new year was Saturday afternoon's shooting death of a 65-year-old man killed near a convenience store his family says he regularly visits.
Willie Dornes was shot at least once about 2:30 p.m. outside the Shell station near the intersection of Edgewood Avenue North and Lowell Avenue, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Dornes' family said the father of two was defending himself from three men who were bullying him before he was shot. He died at the scene.
Police said the shooting may have happened during a robbery attempt.
JSO Homicide Sgt. Marc Musser said they were interviewing witnesses and searching nearby businesses for surveillance video. Investigators said they had identified a suspect, but did not provide any information on that person's identity.
A bundle of balloons has been put up near where Dormes died. People stopped by Monday to sit or stand in silence, bow their head or take a picture. A candlelight vigil in his memory was held at the gas station at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
"It's tough," said the victim's younger brother, John Dornes. "Someone being taken unexpectedly, it would be tough for anyone, but love is keeping us together."
The family's message to the gunman: "You will be caught."
"We are going to seek justice for my brother and for anyone else that is being bullied. Bullying is not going to be tolerated in this city," John Dornes said.
The family said after 30 years of driving a truck, Willie Dornes had fallen on hard times and often sought the company of friends who hung out at the convenience store.
The victim's younger brother said he was blessed to spend time with him with him one week before he was killed.
"Willie came over and spent the whole night and day with me on Saturday of last week, so I thought that was the work of God," John Dornes said. "I really thank God for having those last words with him the day before he was killed."
Police and family members ask anyone with any information about Saturday's shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.