'Déjà vu' for family of Army soldier shot in Atlantic Beach

Devin Bennett's older brother was killed less than 7 months ago outside bar

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – A 19-year-old Army soldier who had returned home to visit his family in Atlantic Beach was shot and rushed to an intensive care unit for treatment, just months after his older brother was fatally shot outside a bar in Jacksonville Beach.

"Very hard. Complete utter shock. It's like déjà vu," said James Phillips, Devin Bennett's mother's fiancé. "We're really trying to come to grips on this considering that we just buried his brother seven months ago."

According to family members, Devin Bennett was walking from his mother's home to the store when he was attacked by two men near the intersection of Jackson Street and Mayport Road in Atlantic Beach.

"They got his wallet. They robbed him and got what they wanted, and they still shot him," said Ed Kelly, the teen's grandfather. "My first reaction was, "God, please not another one."

"Five minutes went by, then, all of a sudden, he was at the door and screaming, saying he'd been shot," Phillips said. "We started putting pressure on the wound, and it was just chaos from there."

The family was told by doctors that the bullet struck him and severed his humerus bone, coming dangerously close to a major artery. As of Wednesday night, Devin Bennett was removed from the ICU and placed in a general hospital room. 

"He's recovering, but still in a lot of pain," Phillips said. "He's shocked about the situation, but overall, he's doing very well."

His older brother, Leon Bennett, was shot to death in June, which police said was the result an altercation. Two men are still in jail awaiting trail on gun and evidence tampering charges. No homicide charges have been filed in the case, in which witnesses said Leon Bennett was the aggressor.

A Wednesday hearing in Leon Bennett's case was rescheduled after the court learned his younger brother was shot.

Devin Bennett, who came home in mid-December, was scheduled to return to Fort Sill in Oklahoma on Thursday. The military has extended his leave, allowing him to recover.

Family members said Atlantic Beach detectives hope someone might have heard or seen what happened and can provide information to help the investigation.


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