JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An altercation between parents Tuesday morning outside Matthew Gilbert Middle School on Jacksonville’s Eastside ended when police were called and one of the adults was charged with possession of a gun on school property.
The school was on Code Red lockdown during and immediately after the 10:30 a.m. altercation, which officials said involved adults were confronted in the parking lot by the woman after an appointment with the principal. Duval County School Police and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office were called.
According to a police report, Moenika Ellis, 31, got into a fight with three other parents in the parking lot. It says that Ellis went to her car and came back with a gun. She then got into the car and was attempting to drive away when she was stopped by police.
According to the JSO arrest report, Ellis never pointed the gun at anyone, but did resist arrest. She was arrested on charges of possession of a firearm on school property and resisting an officer with violence.
James Wiggins was one of the other parents in the dispute. He said his daughter had been attacked at school.
“So what I did was, when she said she was attacked, what normal parents do, I go to the school,” Wiggins said. “My daughter and my ex-wife go to the car. So when they go to the car, the little girl points at my daughter.”
Wiggins said his ex-wife was defending herself when she was shoved into the side of a car hard enough to leave a dent. One member of the family was pepper-sprayed by an officer trying to break up the fight.
Wiggins, his ex-wife and fiancée were given notices to appear for charges resulting from the fight. They are considering legal action against Ellis.
“Students and staff were not involved and they remained safe throughout this incident,” Principal Maurice NeSmith said in a voicemail message sent to parents and guardians. “While the cause of the altercation is still being investigated by police, I can tell you that they each have been trespassed from the school and are facing multiple criminal charges. Neither the firearm nor the altercation were in the school building.”
NeSmith said that police and other security personnel responded quickly.
News4Jax records show from 2016 to 2019 there were 33 incidents with guns at Duval County schools, with 30 arrests made.