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Family of slain Duclay father has message for killer

'You took a precious life in a cowardly manner,' Jonathan Rivera's aunt says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the last week, a family has been pleading for answers in the shooting death of a 28-year-old father of three children.

Jonathan Rivera’s aunt, Nancy Jimenez, told News4Jax on Wednesday that her family is still angry knowing the person responsible is still walking the streets. She had a message for her nephew's killer.

"You took a precious life in a cowardly manner, and now you're hiding behind a gun," Jimenez said.

On May 9, Rivera's sister found him shot to death in his car parked outside her home on Westland Oaks Drive, in the Duclay area on the city's Westside.

Over the weekend, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office released a surveillance photo of a car that police said they believe the shooter was driving.

But with each day that goes by without an arrest, Rivera's loved ones said, the pain grows deeper.

"Come forward and repent of your sin, because it is written in the Bible you will reap what you sow," Jimenez said. "Otherwise, you’re just a coward hiding behind a gun. May God have mercy on your soul."

Rivera’s aunt said it makes no sense that someone would shoot and kill a father of three boys with a bright future. 

"(It's been) terrible," she said. 

Jimenez said her and her family’s faith keeps them going.

"There were moments when my faith was put to the test, but I’ll never stop believing," she said. "I know there is a God and I know he will make right out of all of this."

There is a football game planned in honor of Rivera, who was a semi-professional football player in Jacksonville. The proceeds from the game will be used to create a scholarship fund for Rivera's three sons.

The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 9 at Charles Boobie Clark Park at 8793 Sibbald Road, Jacksonville, FL 32208.

There will be two teams playing that will consist of semi-pro football players in Florida and Georgia: Team 47 versus Team 50 -- representing both jersey numbers Rivera wore as a semi-pro football player.

Admission will be $5 for adults and free for children.  

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