Woman dead after Westside neighbor’s gun accidentally goes off, police say

Jacksonville police: Neighbor was cleaning gun when a round accidentally discharged

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman died Sunday after her neighbor’s gun accidentally went off on the Westside, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Police said they were called around 1:30 p.m. to Jeb Stuart Lane, off Wesconnett Boulevard, and learned a woman was suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Police said she died at the scene.

“This appears to be a tragic accident with the most unfortunate of outcomes,” said Sgt. Edwin Cayenne with the JSO Homicide Unit.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, there are about 40 to 50 yards between the neighbor’s home and the home of the woman, who was in the front room at the time.

The family said her name is Jennifer Edelen. She was a mother of four and said to be a very good person.

“My daughter said there’s an ambulance down there in front of your friends house. I said, ‘God, I hope it isn’t anything,’” said Linda McHenry.

The Sheriff’s Office said her daughter made the call, and she told police she thought she was hearing thunder and lighting when the shot went off.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, a neighbor told police that while cleaning their firearm inside their residence, a round accidentally discharged.

The Sheriff’s Office said the neighbor is cooperating with police.

“He was my neighbor. He was a good man. For him to come over and say what he said, he shouldn’t serve time at all,” said McHenry.

The homicide unit, along with the state attorney’s office, is investigating if this was an accident or if they need to pursue charges.

McHenry said she’s hurt and will miss her friend and sister.

“She was just a loving person. She was a good person, I can say that. And we shared a lot together,” said McHenry.

Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson said there are rules gun owners need to follow.

“You’re not supposed to have it loaded while you’re cleaning it. You load it after you’re completely done with it and ready to secure it,” said Jefferson. “They’ve [police] got to forensically look to see the trajectory of the bullet. Where would have traveled from if it was pointing somewhere? Was it? That does it appear to be intentional?”

Jefferson said in their questioning, police will see how consistent his story is.

The family says Edelen would’ve celebrated her 48th birthday this month.

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