JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day after police labeled the death of a 7-year-old boy caught in the crossfire in a drive-by shooting last February "excusable," the homicide is now listed as "justifiable," ending without any arrests, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Tashawn Gallon was with a group gathered outside a home on Mt. Herman Street shortly after 9 p.m. Feb. 18 when someone in an SUV stopped and opened fire, investigators said.
In a statement, the Sheriff's Office said:
“The facts and evidence in the case led to the tragic conclusion that Tashawn was killed by a shot fired by a family member who was in the yard with him.”
Police couldn't find anyone to criminally charge in Tashawn's death because it appeared one man involved was acting in self-defense, and the other is dead.
"The problem is, from the criminal standpoint, if someone struck the child and somebody is protecting themself, then that individual did not commit a crime," said Jacksonville Attorney Gene Nichols, who is not affiliated with the case.
Investigators said it began with the murder of Telvin Kennedy in 2017. Afterward, a woman, Vetta Muller, was murdered in Jan. 2018, and police believe her death was in retaliation for Muller putting a hit out on Kennedy.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Dominique Holcombe is believed to be the man who shot Muller, but he has not been charged.
On the night Tashawn was killed, a group of men were "smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol" on a porch on Mt. Herman Street when someone fired several shots from the passenger side of a stolen SUV, police said. Holcomb was said to be at the home, as was Henry Smith Jr., who later admitted to detectives that he fired back in self-defense, aiming for the SUV.
According to investigators, ballistics evidence shows the bullet from Smith Jr.'s gun struck Tashawn.
Homicide detectives received seven tips made to Crime Stoppers from people saying the shooter from the SUV was a man named Silas Ervin, investigators said. According to police, Ervin and his girlfriend were shot and killed at an Easter party on April 1, 2018.