GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Police are investigating after five people were shot outside the 8th Avenue Food Store store on Gainesville’s eastside.
Family members tell News4Jax that 23-year-old Tyeric Simmons has died. We’re working to get an update on the condition of the four others who were injured.
Graham Glover, a spokesman for Gainesville Police Department, said witnesses saw an SUV driving south on Northeast 17th Street pulled up outside the store about 10 p.m. and fire shots into a group of people. The driver then sped off east on NE 8th Avenue. Police are still looking for the SUV.
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“I lost an angel, that’s what he was to me,” Simmons’ grandmother, Antoinette Wilcox, said. “He was my angel, my first-born grandson. He was a good boy.”
“He didn’t deserve to die,” Simmons’ aunt, Tiffany Williams, told News4Jax. “To get the call, my nephew is gone. Just like this. No kid deserves to lose their life like he did.”
Police did not release a motive yet for the shooting and described the victims who were shot as innocent people.
“This is heartbreaking. Anytime you see violence like this in the city of Gainesville, it breaks anyone’s heart who loves this community, who loves the citizens, and who are very proud to be a part of this great community of Gainesville,” Glover said.
If anyone has information about this incident is urged to contact the police department by calling 352-393-7710. You can remain anonymous by contacting Alachua County Crime Stoppers at 352-372-7867.
Most people we spoke with in the area are afraid to go on camera, fearing retaliation. A woman who runs a child care business across the street from the store decided to close her business for the day.
“I am scared and I usually don’t be scared, but right now they have me to the point I am scared,” neighborhood resident Terri Foreman said. “Kids, we have to put the guns down. Please, please. We are losing too many to senseless gun violence, so I am begging you, we all have to stop it. We have to stop with the guns.”