JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 150 family, friends and the community gathered Saturday to remember Devon Gregory, who died during a traffic stop on the Westside.
It was a celebration of life for Gregory.
“My cousin was a young black man who deserved a chance. He was scared. We’re all scared for young black men. We don’t know what to do,” said Stacy Jackson.
Jackson says her cousin was inspiring. He loved his family and did all he could for them.
“He enjoyed his life,” she said. “He didn’t deserve this way to die. He deserves justice.”
The family is demanding answers in the 18-year-old’s death.
“We are going to get justice,” said aunt Teanay Gregory. “We are going to make things better and we’re going to live through this we’re gonna fight every day if we have to.”
The officer-involved shooting happened near Cassat and San Juan avenues back in November. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the medical examiner determined Gregory had a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Sheriff’s Office released body camera footage from the incident. The Medical Examiner’s Office did not state whether the self-inflicted gunshot wound was the cause of death.
Dozens of activists filled the Duval County Courthouse on Friday, chanting for Gregory. Teanay Gregory said he called her during the traffic stop, asking her to come pick him up.
“I spent the last 20 minutes on the phone with him. Him begging for them to back up to give him some time. They didn’t give him the time, the space. He was scared and I just want justice,” she said.
In the bodycam footage, officers are seen repeatedly asking Gregory to put his hands up, but he refuses. Officers fired their weapons after Gregory shot himself. It’s unclear if he died from turning the gun on himself, or if he died from an officer’s bullet.
The family hired a private medical examiner. According to the family’s attorney, a second autopsy shows Gregory was shot 13 times, including four times in the head, and the attorney said Gregory was bitten by a K-9.
“I want the kids to be able to trust the officers. I do. He didn’t trust them,” Gregory’s aunt said. “And I want for his other siblings to grow up and be able to trust the officers.”
The family says it wants all of the officers’ body camera videos to be released.
They also say they feel shutout because they haven’t been able to speak with JSO or any local leaders about this case and they’re hoping their voice will be heard.
Activists say they’re calling for the case to be independently investigated.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said that officers tried to de-escalate the situation, telling him not to reach under the seat, which can be heard in the video.
“I’m not going to give in and tell every person responsible for Devon Gregory death is brought to justice,” said Bishop Travis Grant.
Grant with the Rainbow Push Coalition flew in from Chicago to officiate the service.
Gregory was laid to rest at Moncrief Cemetery.