Did ShotSpotter give Jacksonville mother shot in face fighting chance?

Technology alerted police to shooting near Myrtle Avenue and Kings Road

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville mother shot in the face Tuesday in Northwest Jacksonville might have been given a fighting chance thanks to gunfire detection technology that alerted police to the shooting.

The ShotSpotter alert came in minutes before anyone called 911 to report that 41-year-old Veta Muller had been shot multiple times on the front porch of a home on Grothe Street, near Myrtle Avenue and Kings Road.

Muller was rushed to UF Health with critical injuries, and police said she continued to fight for her life Wednesday.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said the technology gets victims help faster. 

“What is good about ShotSpotter is once shots are fired, the police department will be notified immediately, as opposed to waiting for someone to call,” Smith said.

Those precious minutes might have been the difference between life and death for Muller, if she pulls through.

Police said they aren't sure if Muller, a First Coast High School alumna  who has lived most of her life in Florida, knew the person who shot her at least five times, including once in the face.

Smith said police will have to rely on the evidence at the scene and information from witnesses to help make an arrest.

Detecting gunfire

The ShotSpotter technology was launched in Jacksonville last summer.

The sensors are placed on buildings throughout Northwest Jacksonville. If a gunshot is heard within 80 feet of a sensor, dispatchers receive alerts on their computers. 

Gunfire alerts led police to deadly shootings earlier this month and in November.

Thomas Gordon, a former pro football player, was found gunned down Jan. 7 near the intersection of West 8th and Tyler streets, more than 10 miles from his Arlington home.

And ShotSpotter led police Nov. 19 to find Nelson Haywood, 25, wounded on West 18th Street. He died at the hospital.

So far no arrests have been made in their cases. 

Anyone with information about any of these shootings is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).

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