JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The morning after a 27-year-old man was fatally shot and a 7-year-old boy was injured during a shooting at a youth football game in Arlington, Jacksonville’s mayor is among those speaking out over the latest deadly gun violence.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said officers were called to a report of shots fired about 6 p.m. Sunday. Homicide detectives said a man in a hoodie and wearing a mask got out of a silver or grey SUV and fired a gun at the victims in what investigators said appeared to be a targeted act. He then drove away.
Within four minutes, officers arrived at the field that adjoins Arlington Heights Elementary School just north of Arlington Road to find the man dead and the boy suffering from gunshot wounds. Police said both victims were taken to a hospital, where the man died. The boy is expected to recover.
They were shot about five yards from the fence and 20 yards from the field, where players were lined up.
JSO no longer provides the identity for shootings or homicides but did say they believe the victims were father and son.
In a livestream a coach was filming during the game, four gunshots could be heard, players dropped to the ground and people in the crowd started running.
“You see the little boy, he’s on the ground,” said a witness, who wanted anonymity. “He is shot, his dad is shot. My nephew tried to help, he applied pressure to the gunshot wound.”
The man said his family was shaken up after seeing the traumatic and heartbreaking incident.
“It’s a crying shame that someone would stoop this low to shoot into a crowd of children and adults,” said News4Jax Crime and Safety analyst Ken Jefferson. “People are afraid to talk sometimes for fear of reprisal. But there’s so many ways that people can give their information and no one knows who did it if that’s what their concern is. You can call the police and remain anonymous.”
This was the fourth shooting and third fatality in Arlington over the weekend. News4Jax records show 18 of 144 homicides in Jacksonville so far this year have been in Arlington.
City Council Member Joyce Morgan sent News4Jax a statement following the shooting.
News4Jax watched people start to clean up Lions Field on Monday.
Trash, tents and lawn chairs covered the field after neighbors say pandemonium broke out.
“When we were kids football was our out route away from everything,” said Johnathan Tunstall, who lives near the field.
Tunstall said seeing the field that way let him know something bad had to happen because he says the field is always well maintained and a place for children to enjoy themselves.
“A man lost his life and his 7-year-old child was shot out here yesterday. If that don’t awaken this city to do something,” Tunstall said while shaking his head.
He said his nephews were playing in the game Sunday. We asked him what they told him after the shooting.
“My brother was like his son just kept crying and he doesn’t want anything else to do with the sport,” he said.
On Facebook, posts about the incident say the man who was killed was “one of the most dedicated dads out there.”
Now neighbors are questioning what led up to the shooting.
“How did this happen? How did the person get the weapon? Why did they bring it there?” asked Denise Kruger, who lives in the area. “It really gives me anxiety you know because I have a baby girl and like I said this neighborhood is filled with kids all the time playing around in the street and stuff. It’s crazy.”