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Teen walking near Jacksonville elementary school shot several times

Shooting prompts safety lockdowns at 3 Arlington-area schools

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 17-year-old student of a charter school was shot several times Thursday afternoon while walking on Lansdowne Drive in Arlington, according to Duval County School Board police.

Several shots were fired about 1:55 p.m. at the boy, who was walking north on the sidewalk near Parkwood Heights Elementary School.

Jacksonville police said the teen ran onto the property of the elementary school to take cover behind some cars but was hit multiple times. He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said the shots were fired from a silver sedan that was driving north, but they had no better description.

The shooting happened not far from the Duval County School Board Police headquarters.

One of the bullets struck a window of the front office of Parkwood Heights Elementary, but no students or staff were injured, authorities said.

The victim was a student at Lone Star High School, which is less than two blocks from where the shooting occurred.

Parkwood Heights Elementary, Terry Parker High School and Arlington Middle School were all placed on lockdown. 

"What should have happened, happened," Superintendent Dr. Patricia Willis said of the district's response. "We went into Code Red. Fortunately, it was right near our police officers. We were able to get staff there immediately, get our school staff there. Schools were locked down. Students knew what to do because they practice it regularly."

China Sranga said she just enrolled her son in Parkwood Heights Elementary School last week.

"My son walks home and he hadn't showed up. So I called the school and the school told me to pick him up here," she said. 

Sranga said she didn't know a teenage boy had been shot until she picked her son up from school.

"It's frightening and it's upsetting that no one would tell a parent that somebody got shot outside of their kid's school," she said.

The mother said she's now worried about her son's safety.

"I'm not going to let him go anymore," Sranga said. "I have to talk to my husband when he gets home, but I'm really upset that this is happening."

Duval County Public Schools posted a tweet about 2:30 p.m. asking Terry Parker High School parents to pick up their children as quickly as possible.

"Walkers are being held safely inside the building, as police look for a suspect in the area," the tweet read.

Bus riders and car riders were being released incrementally to ensure student safety. Police had closed some of the streets in the area, and parents were asked to use Merrill Road to Townsend Road to arrive at the high school.

"Police will provide you with directions," DCPS said.

Parents and guardians of Parkwood Heights students were asked to pick them up at Terry Parker High School after 2:30 p.m. The students were safe, escorted to the school and held in the cafeteria.

"They will be well supervised until parents can arrive at the school," DCPS said.

DCPS also tweeted that parents and guardians of Arlington, Arlington Heights, and Fort Caroline Elementary students should expect buses to run normal routes, but would be delayed.

The school lockdowns prompted frantic calls to the News4Jax newsroom, as the events came one day after a deadly mass shooting at a South Florida high school.

The lockdown also prompted father Corey Bartley to leave work and rush to pick up his sons, who attend Terry Parker High School.

"This day and time right now, it's something that we have to be more cautious of our kids hanging out with different people," Corey Bartley said. "I hope that people become more cautious about knowing what’s going on with their children.”

One of his sons, Christian Bartley, said his classmates were told to take shelter. 

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 

About the Authors:

Reports weeknights for The Ten O'Clock News and News4Jax at 11.