Councilman says district where 5 teens were shot near high school has a gang problem

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Increased security is expected for the near future at First Coast High School after a group of teens were shot not far from campus.

On Tuesday, bullets were fired into a black car, hitting five teenagers inside. One of the teens died. Police don’t have anyone in custody.

Officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office were all around the school from when students went into school until they got out. It’s still not clear if the shooting involved students from First Coast High School, but people in the neighborhood told News4JAX what happened Tuesday and in the last few weeks is concerning especially with so many students around.

Betty Schuster was outside when she said she heard five gunshots on Tuesday.

“On my back porch, yes, it was very clear,” Schuster said. “I just was kind of shocked.”

Police are now looking for a silver SUV that is possibly connected to the shooting.

“That’s very uncommon for this neighborhood. We’ve lived here two years and we never heard gunshots until recently,” Schuster said.

Looking at JSO’s crime map, in the last month and within a two-mile radius of the school, there were no shootings. But according to News4JAX records, last week a teenager was shot in a parking lot near the intersection of Tuesday’s shooting, but we don’t know if they’re connected. The crime map did show different batteries and assaults with a weapon. None of them, that we know of, are connected to Tuesday’s shooting.

JSO said its gang unit is following up on leads but it’s too soon to say if the recent string of violence is gang-related.

The area is city councilman Reggie Gaffney’s district and News4JAX asked him if there is a gang problem in his district.

“I have known that since I got elected,” Gaffney said. “It’s been reported that a lot of times these young kids know who’s in a gang and they don’t say anything, but it’s getting to a time now where we got to start working together as a community to deal with part of this crime.”

Police say they are working to verify if the teens who were shot are students at the nearby school.

News4JAX also asked Councilman Gaffney about the organization Cure Violence.

He says it’s in the eastern part of his district, and it goes where crime goes.

Ultimately, he is working with JSO and says this is a community effort that involves parents talking more with their kids.

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