JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A day after a 34-year-old woman died after being run over in front of her Ribault home, another woman injured in the incident told News4Jax it was sparked over gas money.
John Henry Perry has been charged with murder, attempted murder and armed burglary after he struck Shafonda Boynton and Jacqueline Thompson with his car, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Boynton, a mother of three, died hours later after suffering a severe injury. Thompson, who suffered minor injuries, told News4Jax on Thursday what prompted the deadly encounter.
She said she has been friends with Boynton for more than 20 years and that the two met up the night before the incident to hang out.
Thompson said Boynton drove Perry's car and that when the two returned to Boynton's Friden Drive home about 3 a.m. Wednesday, an outraged Perry met them outside of the house.
He said Boynton needed to pay him gas money, Thompson said.
“He approached her. He was like, 'You drove out all of my gas. Give me some gas money.' She was like, 'I told you, I'm not giving you anything.' To make a long story short, they started arguing,” Thompson said.
She said the argument took place as two of Boynton's children, ages 14 and 8, slept inside the home.
Thompson said she keeps replaying the moments that followed in her mind.
“She told him, 'I'll tell you what' (and) she contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. When she was giving him the information, he backed out like he was leaving,” Thompson said.
But he didn't leave.
Instead, according to police, he put his red Chevrolet Impala back into drive, struck Thompson and then Boynton, before crashing into the home.
“All I can remember is her calling my name and running past me. When I turned around and looked – I was hit,” Thompson said.
The impact carried Boynton into the house, where paramedics found her and rushed her to a hospital.
Thompson said the children ran out of the home after the crash and saw their mom being taken away on a stretcher.
“They were screaming and hollering,” she said. “It's like they knew they wouldn't see their mom again.”
Hours later, Boynton died at the hospital from her injuries. By the end of the day, Perry was charged with murder.
“I don't think the gas money is that serious for him to run over her,” Thompson said Thursday through tears.
Thompson said the toughest thing is knowing Boynton's three children are now without parents. Their dad died recently from natural causes. Boynton's older sister is preparing to care for the children.
“I'm just sad. I'm hurt. I'm sad,” Thompson said, crying. “I never thought in a million years that would be the last time I saw my friend.”
Family coping with tragedy
Boynton's aunt, Shiffonda Setzler, for whom she was named, said she and her family are now bearing the burden of another loss.
“We are coming together as a family and doing what we have to do, but at times like this, we have limited funds, especially when a death isn't something we were expecting,” Setzler said.
Setzler said she believes Perry had enough time to reconsider doing what he is accused of doing to a mother, daughter and friend.
“How could you not think of those kids. It's just selfishness, and this is what our families have to deal with,” Setzler said. “He could have walked away. He had time to think about what he was going to do before he did it.”
Despite that, Setzler said she forgives Perry.
“I forgive him, because that's what God would want me to do,” she said.
Setzler said a GoFundMe account will be set up to help with the children's back-to-school items. We will update this story when we have that link.
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