JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A candlelight vigil was held Thursday evening to remember a First Coast High School student who was gunned down earlier this week while on his way to a fast-food restaurant in Jacksonville’s College Gardens neighborhood.
Dozens of loved ones gathered at 6 p.m. Thursday near the site where Cordell Williams, 15, died and another teen was critically injured in a shooting about 8 p.m. Monday on Kings Road near the intersection of Spires Avenue.
Ahead of the vigil, News4Jax spoke with Quanisha Walker, Williams’ older sister, who said he was a good, friendly kid who was on his way to get food from a Burger King when he got caught in the gunfire.
“He never got to experience life,” Walker said.
She said her younger brother was a friend to everyone.
“He loved football. (He was) very goofy, funny, charming, respectful," Walker said. “He didn’t do no wrong. I mean, (he was) the type of kid to watch Yu-Gi-Oh!, Naruto, you know? He didn’t do anything.”
Walker said their mother heard the gunfire that ultimately claimed Williams’ life.
“She called me and she was like, ‘Cordell was going to Burger King.’ And she was like, ‘I just heard over 20 shots fired.’ She was like, ‘I’m scared. I’m about to walk down here.’ And they turned her around," Walker said.
A police report sheds few details about what happened that night. It’s unclear what led up the shooting. Walker said she hasn’t heard anything more from police and that she had to plead for information when she got to the scene that evening.
“We kind of had to do it ourselves, you know? We had to, ‘Please look at this phone. Please tell me if it’s him. Please, he’s only 15 and he hasn’t came home yet. Please, he was going to Burger King. Please let me know if that’s him,'" Walker said. “We haven’t heard anything.”
Thursday night’s vigil was a celebration of Williams’ life, but also a call for anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.
“We’re going to share memories. We’re going to speak of Cordell. We’re going to keep his name alive. We’re going to find his killer,” Walker said.
At least 50 people attended the vigil. Candles were passed out and the group Bridges to the Cure put up signs reading, “Stop gun violence, enough is enough.”
“I’m just so tired and I hope people will join in with us and feel our hurt and pain and so we can do something to help stop this senseless killing of our young men and women and children going to jail. It’s just horrible," Brenda Perry, Williams’ grandmother said as she was surrounded by family members. “It’s time for it to stop.”
The family has made a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).
According to News4Jax records, 24 teens have died by gun violence this year in Jacksonville.