1 killed, 1 hurt by shots fired into car on Southside Boulevard

Jacksonville police say multiple shots fired into moving vehicle

By Ashley Harding - Reporter, Scott Johnson - Reporter, Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One man died and another was hospitalized with serious injuries when they were shot while driving early Monday morning on Southside Boulevard, near Geiger Road, police said.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, a car was headed south on Southside Boulevard around 1:40 a.m. when someone fired several shots into it.

The bullet-riddled car went off Southside Boulevard and crashed into the front yard of a home along the service road. The sound of bullets flying and the crash that followed had the stunned residents inside scrambling to call 911.

“I heard a few shots go off, and one of my roommates came outside, and we went outside on our back porch, and we heard a guy yelling, 'Help!' and called 911 after that,” Nick Swiatkowski said. "Some guy died in front of our house, and that’s something you never expect to happen."

The driver managed to flag someone down for help, and a good Samaritan drove him to Memorial Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition at last check.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the passenger in the car was shot several times and died. On Friday, police identified the passenger as Charles Edward Horton, 19, of Jacksonville.

Police said they are working to determine the motive and that it's too early to tell if this was a road rage incident. A K-9 unit was brought to the scene to assist in the search for the gunman.

Police said it's not clear if the shots were fired from another vehicle or from somewhere along the road.

Southside Boulevard was shut down in both directions from Fraser Road to Eisenhower Road, about halfway between Atlantic and Beach boulevards. Officers reopened all lanes just before 6:30 a.m.

Earwitness

Jake Bottom said he was in a house nearby and heard eight to 10 shots fired, then heard someone yelling for help. He called 911.

"It was scary. That was the first time I had ever heard gunshots in person," Bottom said. "I don't know, but once you hear them, you kind of know exactly what they are. It was a little scary at first."

Bottom said he heard the car crash and heard someone scream for help.

"We didn't want to go outside right away, because we didn't know if it was finished or not," Bottom said. "I looked through my window and you could kind of see the headlights through the bushes. I thought, 'Man, they might still be out there,' so when we did come down, that's when we called the cops. They were here within five minutes." 

The Sheriff's Office continues to investigate. Police want to speak to anyone who may have seen something or who can help them narrow down a suspect description. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).

According to News4Jax records, this was the 13th homicide in Jacksonville in the first 18 days of June.

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