Did man shot in Jacksonville Beach in June start fight?
Police report on witness tampering arrests gives details of fatal shooting
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Six weeks after Leon Bennett was shot and killed after leaving a Jacksonville Beach club, News4Jax obtained a police report in the case that sheds light on why no one has been charged with murder.
According to police, the 2:30 a.m. June 24 shooting happened after a fight that Bennett started. Shaquille Walker and Jose Lebron were later charged with tampering with evidence in the case and surrendered to police on the warrant while in Hawaii.
The evidence tampering police report quotes eyewitness Edric Barnes, who said he was in the car with Walker and Lebron when the shooting happened.
According to the Barnes, before the shooting, he tried to talk to Bennett's girlfriend. The woman explained she was in a relationship with Bennett, and that Barnes and Bennett shook hands.
Then, Bennett's friend confronted and hit Lebron, then Bennett tackled Walker, according to Barnes' account. Eventually, the groups separated. Barnes said he rode with Lebron and Walker in Lebron's car to follow Bennett.
Barnes said a woman in Bennett's group walked up to Lebron's car and Bennett opened the passenger door. Barnes said Bennett tried to punch Walker and pull Walker out of the car, and that's when Walker fired two shots at Bennett.
Bennett, 23 and a father of two, died shortly after the shooting.
Bennett's mother, Rhonda Kelly, who read Barnes account of what happened that night, believes Barnes is lying to police.
"It sounds like they are trying to claim a self-defense type of thing, but they know, the girls know, Leon knows that's not the case," Kelley said Thursday.
Kelly says the men didn't have to follow her son.
"They should have murder charges. I feel like Shaquille should have a murder charge and I feel Lebron should be an accessory. He was driving the car. He went there. So, to me, your guys, when you go in that car, you looked for my son," Kelly said.
The State Attorney' Office said this remains an ongoing investigation.
The family has put a temporary memorial near where he was shot. Kelly is trying to a permanent plaque honoring his life.
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