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Jacksonville's violence once again in national headlines

Landing mass shooting latest highly-publicized killing this month in city

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mass shooting at the Landing was the latest act of violence in Jacksonville to reach national headlines this month. 

The city has recorded a number a highly publicized killings over the last several weeks.

On Sunday, police said, a gunman from Baltimore opened fire during a video game tournament inside Chicago Pizza at the Jacksonville Landing, killing two and injuring a dozen others before taking his own life.

"What's going on? Why are they getting shot? Why are they dying?" asked Javari Long, who heard the gunshots.

On Friday night, a 19-year-old man was killed and two teenage students were injured in a shooting after a football game at Raines High School. Investigators believe the triple shooting was gang-related. 

"It’s just a really sad day in Jacksonville and truly we have had a lot of sad days in Jacksonville," Jacksonville City Councilwoman Anna Lopez Brosche said the next day.

On Aug. 11, a 7-year-old girl was killed in the crossfire of a shooting in the parking lot of a Westside strip mall, according to police.

On Aug. 10, a woman was ordering breakfast in the drive-through line of a McDonald's restaurant on Baymeadows Road when police said a man approached and fatally shot her.

"Jacksonville is a war zone and no seems to care," an anonymous letter sent Aug. 15 to Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams reads.

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Jacksonville's violence has landed on front pages from Los Angeles to New Jersey. 

The Facebook posts are even more heartbreaking than the headlines. 

One post on Sunday reading, "20 days in Jacksonville, Welcome to Duval," linked 26 News4Jax articles on tragic deaths and violent crimes in the month of August.

Mario Peterson's granddaughter, her child and her fiance were found dead in their burned Arlington home weeks before Christmas. Peterson said each killing hits hard.

"It’s very difficult," he told News4Jax on Monday. "My wife was crying all night last night because it’s bringing up more memories and bad situations going on for us."

Taylor England moved to Jacksonville two months ago from Ohio. She said she was not expecting the violence.

"No I didn't. I thought it would be peaceful," said England, who now carries a Taser with her when she's in public. 

She said she wants the new town she calls home to put down the guns and try giving peace a chance.

While the recent wave of violence paints a violent picture of Jacksonville, the group Downtown Jacksonville tweeted a message of hope.


 


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