JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 21-year-old man died after he was found shot late Sunday outside a McDonald's in the Arlington neighborhood, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
Officers answered a call of someone shot at about 11 p.m. outside the University Boulevard location and found Stefon Larell Ethridge wounded in the parking lot. Paramedics said he died at the scene.
Throughout the day, friends of Ethridge's family stopped by the restaurant, including Oscar Wade.
"I know his sister is really going through it," Wade said.
Wade and others who live nearby were shocked to hear about what happened, saying the area has recently cleaned-up and become safer.
"I've been out here about two years and it's been a beautiful area," Wade said. "Everything has been sweet."
Alice Smith has lived in the area for about 18 months. She too was not expecting to hear about what happened.
"I go to the McDonald's a lot in the morning," Smith said. "I was really surprised."
Homicide detectives are investigating the shooting as a murder. They stress the shooting had no connection to the restaurant.
News4Jax used the JSO Crime Mapping Program to track recent offenses reported in the area. Within a half mile of the McDonald's since January 1, there have been:
- 32 assaults
- 23 burglaries
- 16 vehicle break-ins
- 11 vehicle thefts
- 1 robbery
It's unclear whether Ethridge walked to the restaurant or someone dropped him off. There is no description of the shooter, and detectives are working to learn more from anyone who may have witnessed the shooting as well as any surveillance video in the area.
A Crime Stoppers sign has been placed outside the restaurant asking anyone with information about the shooting to call the group anonymously at (866) 845-TIPS. They may receive a cash reward.