JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Students and parents are still shaken four days after an armed robbery unfolded on campus at Sandalwood High School.
The incident happened about 3:20 p.m. Dec. 19, according to a police report. The victim told investigators he was walking home from campus when an Acura with four people inside pulled up, two of them jumped out and demanded his shoes and phone at gunpoint.
The campus was temporarily locked down after a gun was found in the area.
The unnamed victim gave a good description of the suspects to authorities, which helped lead to the arrest of Markeem Wilcher. Wilcher, 20, is charged with armed robbery, trespassing and resisting an officer without violence. He remains in custody on $75,000 bond.
School officials said security officers spotted two people in the Acura in the parking lot that day. Principal Dr. Saryn Hatcher said knives and ammunition were found inside the vehicle, which later came up as stolen. A loaded gun was also found during a search of the area.
Despite the arrest, a second person is wanted in connection to the case. Police have not released a physical description of the second suspect. School officials said neither of the suspects is a current student, so they weren’t supposed to be on campus in the first place.
The incident has left students and neighbors on edge.
“It’s kind of scary because anyone could come in at any time and cause harm,” said one student, who spoke with News4Jax for this story but did not wish to be named.
“Kids go here,” said Madison Crutchfield, whose grandparents live nearby. “Parents leave their kids here, it’s supposed to be a safe place to go. And whenever armed robberies are happening, that’s not safe, it’s not good.”
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said everyone -- from school administrators to students -- needs to be on guard in the event a similar incident should happen.
“In an event like that, you want to educate the students to get out of the way, try to seek cover as quick as you can," Jefferson said. "Run, hide, get away because if bullets start flying, they have no names on them.”