I-TEAM looks into Jacksonville's gang problem
Police say gang-related shooting unfolded after Raines High School football game
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax I-TEAM on Monday learned more about a suspected gang connection to a triple shooting Friday evening after a rivalry football game at Raines High School.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Joerod Adams, 19, was killed and two teenagers -- a 17-year-old boy who attends Raines High School and a 16-year-old girl who attends Lee High School -- were injured in the shooting Friday night outside the football stadium, where a game between the Lee Generals and the Raines Vikings had just ended. Both wounded students are expected to recover.
Investigators said they suspect Adams and the teenage boy, who have ties to known gang members, were targeted in Friday's shooting, and the teenage girl appeared to have been struck by a stray bullet.
On Monday, the I-TEAM spoke with Dr. Gary Killam, the past president of the Florida Gang Investigators Association, about the triple shooting.
Killam said there are a few possibilities: The shooting could have been payback for a previous incident, it could have been a gang initiation or the result of an ongoing feud.
According to the Sheriff's Office, there are at least 30 gangs operating in Jacksonville, and most gang members are between 16 and 24 years of age. The state has documented gang members as young as 11.
Each of the gangs has what's called a “shot caller," someone who assumes the role of leader. The role is earned by committing acts of violence. The shot callers also tend to be the elders of the gang who others are afraid of.
The shot caller's leadership can be challenged within the gang structure -- a move that often leads to more violence.
In June near the Town Center, three teenagers were shot and killed during a drive-by shooting. According to the Sheriff's Office, it was a targeted attack and gang-related. The shooting remains unsolved.
Gang experts point out that social media plays a huge role nowadays in gang recruitment and gang activity, and even the communication between rival gangs. Gang members are cryptic online, and use codes to communicate among themselves.
As of Monday evening, the I-TEAM was still waiting to hear back from State Attorney Melissa Nelson about her efforts to reduce gang violence in Jacksonville. It’s one of the issues she’s been focusing on since taking office last year.
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