JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A teenager was found shot to death Friday afternoon in a Whitehouse home, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
The shooting was reported just after 4 p.m. on Watershed Drive in the Walker's Hamlet subdivision, just north of West Beaver Street. There is only one way in and out of the subdivision.
The teenage girl was identified as 17-year-old Alayshia Powe (pictured), who attended Ed White High School, by family members, including by a man who said he was her grandfather.
The man told News4Jax he had received a call from his daughter, who was at work, saying that his granddaughter was found dead.
It’s unclear what led to the shooting, but Powe's death has left relatives and neighbors heartbroken.
“She recently got a job and was going to be a senior in high school. She had so much to live for and I feel like it was a needless death," said Karen Hardge, Powe's cousin. "I was there when she was born. When she became 6-weeks-old, I was her babysitter, so I kept her for the first three years of her life, so she was one of my babies."
Powe’s death comes just two weeks before a family reunion in Atlanta.
“She was going to be a part of that," Hardge said. "But now, before we can even move forward with doing that, we have to plan her funeral and just be there for her mom and her dad. It’s just a lot."
Jeremy Montgomery had been the teen's neighbor for four years.
“As a father, you really can’t speak on it. Seeing kids grow up and stuff like that, it’s just heartbreaking," he said.
Montgomery said she was "always happy."
“She never had a bad vibe about her. She always kept a smile on her face. She went to school and went to work and that was it," he said. "I think she liked playing basketball because she was always had a basketball with her."
No suspects were identified by police, but Powe's family members said they were told by the lead detective that a male suspect is in custody. News4Jax is working to confirm that information.
Throughout the afternoon, officers could be seen going door to door, looking to see whether anyone has surveillance video.
"It’s disturbing news and hopefully (we) can come together and support the situation," neighbor Patrick Logan said.
As family members and friends gathered at the scene, the JSO dive team arrived about 5:30 p.m. at the subdivision, where there is a retention pond. But no divers went into the pond and the dive team left about 30 minutes later.
Despite the crime scene tape, neighbors walked over to offer condolences to the family.
“By them seeing her grow and playing with their kids and how to break it down to their kids to let them know what happened is hard on the community," Montgomery said.
He added that the police activity was a rare sight for residents of the normally quiet subdivision.
"No type of crime out here," Montgomery said.
According to a JSO crime map, within the last four weeks, there has only been one report of an assault, which was considered domestic. During that same time frame, within a half-mile radius of the subdivision, only one assault and one theft have been reported.
The Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the teen's shooting death.