JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Loved ones are reeling from the death of a man shot following a fight over the weekend in Jacksonville’s Riverside neighborhood.
Blake Hendrix, 23, of Callahan, was found dead by police answering a report about shots fired near King Street early Sunday morning, the anti-crime group M.A.D. D.A.D.S. Jacksonville wrote in a Facebook post.
“Please break the code of silence for this family,” the group’s post said.
Hendrix, a West Nassau High School graduate, was shot after a fight broke out, his friends previously told News4Jax. His uncle said his nephew was protecting a friend who was involved in the fight when someone pulled out a gun and shot him.
The uncle said Hendrix, who’s described as very outgoing with a big heart, was set to graduate from trade school soon with perfect attendance. Hendrix was working for W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractors.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family of Hendrix.
Off-duty officers working near King and Forbes streets heard gunshots ring out about 2 a.m., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. After speaking with bystanders, the officers were pointed to a nearby business and they soon found a man lying dead in the road.
Detectives spoke with multiple witnesses in hopes of piecing together what happened. They’re currently trying to identify anyone who might have been involved, or those who saw what led up to the shooting.
Despite the routine bar crowd that shows up on the weekends, neighbors say violent crime isn’t common.
“I used to go out here when I was a little bit younger and I always felt safe there, was always cops out there,” Lydia Armitt told News4Jax.
Added neighbor Josh Rudloff: “It’s not characteristic of the area, in my opinion. I don’t see stuff like that very often.”
But AJ Jordan, vice president of the local M.A.D. D.A.D.S. chapter, said Sunday’s gunfire shouldn’t stun anyone.
“I’m not surprised that it happened in Riverside because crime can happy anywhere in the city,” Jordan said. “And it’s just sad wherever it happens because that means there’s another family in our city hurting.”
The shooting unfolded two blocks away from where Daniel Rowe, a 24-year-old bar employee, was shot and killed in 2015 while taking out the trash. One man got life in prison for that case, while a second man is serving a 20-year sentence.
Former Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Love, who heads up the Park and King Street Area Association, has an office nearby. He said the association plans to address Sunday’s shooting at its next meeting.
“We could have more police presence,” he said. “Maybe that would help. I can tell you Saturday night, Kickbacks is required to have a police officer, and they do ... But certainly maybe more police presence would be a good idea.”
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office by calling 904-630-0500. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call First Coast Crime Stoppers by dialing 866-845-TIPS.