Oakleaf residents concerned after agent shot outside Publix

Clay County sheriff responds at town hall meeting

By Corley Peel - Reporter

OAKLEAF, Fla. - A panel full of school leaders, deputies and neighborhood watch groups attended a town hall meeting Monday night to field questions from the public in the wake of last week’s shooting outside a Publix store.

Community members in the Oakleaf area had the chance to address the Clay County sheriff, following the incident in which a teenager, Jake Lewis, opened fire on a customs agent who was carrying groceries out to his car, before Lewis turned the gun on himself, officials said.

Many people Monday night had concerns about the shooter’s connection with drugs, and asked if narcotics posed a threat to the community.

“It was reported that the young man did have something wrong or was being investigated for narcotic usage or dealing, and so I just wanted to make sure it was something that we were trying to look into and eradicate from the area,” said Brent Scheuneman, of Oakleaf.

Although deputies said Lewis had an active warrant out for his arrest on charges of selling drugs, Sheriff Darryl Daniels made it clear that the shooting was isolated, and was not drug-related.

When asked if authorities properly addressed the issue, Scheuneman said yes.

“I do,” he said. “I think our Clay County Sheriff’s Office and everyone who is looking into this investigation, I’m sure, is doing a great job.”

Still, many parents voiced their concerns about drugs getting into schools. 

School leaders said the district has zero tolerance for drugs.

In the past three years, they said, Oakleaf High School has had fewer than 10 students arrested on marijuana possession.

“I would like to see a little bit more acknowledgement, I think, from (the) administration and the school board itself, but I’m sure they’re doing the best they can and knowledge is power,” Scheuneman said. “That’s where myself and other parents who are here can bring that up at forums like this, so they can educate -- so they can do what they need to do."

Deputies said drugs are everywhere and Oakleaf is no exception.

The Sheriff’s Office is doing everything it can to keep children safe. Deputies said the more that people report the crimes taking place, the easier it is to respond.

“If you see it, report it,” Scheuneman said. “Keep everybody in the know, so we can all do our parts reporting any suspicious activity we see.”

The issues of car break-ins and kids and teenagers wandering around late at night were also addressed. Deputies said they are increasing patrols to make sure teens stay out of trouble.

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