CLAY COUNTY, Fla – A 13-year-old boy has died and four other teenage boys were injured Saturday during a brawl outside a house in Orange Park.
According to Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook, deputies received several calls about the fight on Debbie Lane in the Grove Park neighborhood of Orange Park around 8:30 p.m. Deputies showed up and found at least five teens had been stabbed.
Cook said Sunday the incident started when four boys, between 10 and 14-years-old, showed up at the house, banged on windows and doors and challenged two 13-year-old boys who were inside the house to come out and fight.
The two boys inside called three of their friends and they showed up in a car a few minutes later, Cook said.
When they pulled up, the two groups outside started fighting in the front yard, Cook said, and at least one of the teens pulled out a knife. One of the boys inside the house also came out with a knife, Cook said.
Deputies said two teens were taken to Orange Park Medical Center and the other three were taken to Wolfson Children’s Hospital. The ages of the victims range from 13 to 17 years old, according to the sheriff.
“I wish these young men would have called 911 instead of their friends,” Cook said.
As of Sunday morning, two of the boys were still hospitalized and two have been released.
“It’s scary because my kids play here in the front yard,” said neighbor Juliana Williamson.
It’s unclear if the 13-year-old who died was part of the group that came to the house to fight or the group that came to help their friends inside the house.
“We don’t know what started this fight,” Cook said, adding the Sheriff’s Office is still looking to see if other boys were involved.
Cook said it is very early in the investigation and the State Attorney’s Office is still reviewing to see if charges are warranted.
Neighborhood in shock
Jerrica Hall saw the deadly encounter.
“We came running out here and there were two boys laid out on the sidewalk bleeding,” Hall told News4Jax on Sunday.
Hall was visiting her mother who lives across the street. The gruesome scene she says even scared her sons who are the same age as those involved.
“Even my 11-year-old, it shook him bad just to see a child his age laying there and he was like yelling for his mom you could hear both of the boys yelling for their parents,” Hall said.
Williamson said she’s on edge.
“My 8-year old heard about it and she was asking questions and asking if everything’s ok, ‘is it safe to go outside?’” Williamson said.
Cries she says she are still stuck in her mind after one of the teens died. It’s something Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook said she is having trouble processing.
“I mean, it’s tough. It’s the week of Thanksgiving and instead of being thankful we have a family of a 13-year-old child that’s going to have to plan a burial a funeral that’s extremely, extremely sad and I grieve for the families,” Cook said.
News4Jax went to the house where the fight happened.
The father of one of the boys who was inside looked through the window and answered the door when News4Jax knocked. He said he had nothing to say.
“It was a reality check I feel like for the whole neighborhood,” Hall said.
Varela has lived in the Grove Park neighborhood for two years.
“It’s terrifying. I have two kids myself. I have a 12-year-old and a 3-year-old and the 12-year-old plays out here with the other kids and there are other kids in this neighborhood that play and at the same age,” Varela said. “It’s not terribly surprising but nothing has been violent so far so this one is a little bit unnerving.”