JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Residents living on the Westside near 103rd Street and Interstate 295 are frustrated following a string of recent shootings — one of which was deadly.
Some Jacksonville leaders say they need the public’s help to try and stop the violence, as it appears many witnesses are unwilling to come forward to police.
Cure Violence is the latest group to rebuke the recent violence happening on the Westside, and on Thursday, they held a demonstration on 103rd Street.
“We are out here because we want the community to know we are tired of our children, our grandchildren being killed,” said Jaqueline Collier, Cure Violence’s eastside director.
“We want the community to buy in,” Collier added. “Come on out here with us and let everyone know, you are tired of this!”
Much of the efforts are being made by community activists and organizations, law enforcement and local lawmakers.
“Majority of the crime that’s happening in Jacksonville, is being committed by a small percentage of the population,” said City Councilman Garrett Dennis, who represents District 9.
He added that “there’s a link that’s missing.”
“And that’s individuals who know something. They have information. We need them to come forward,” Dennis said.
On April 17, the night of Easter, at McGirts Creek Regional Park near 103rd Street, a 17-year-old Ed White High School football player — Jon Dantzler — was shot while he was with other teenagers. Police said he died after the group drove to a nearby grocery store parking lot.
The next morning, at the Palm Trace Apartments off 103rd Street, a person was shot and hospitalized in critical condition.
Violent Easter weekend: 3 dead after 6 shootings in Jacksonville
Notably, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is investigating six separate shootings over Easter weekend. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.
It’s something that groups like MAD DADS have been working hard to make happen.
“These guys and groups with these guns, they are intimidating the community and they are scared to speak up,” said A.J. Jordan, vice president of MAD DADS. “And that’s why we encourage them to go through Crime Stoppers, or JSO tips, or even reach out to MAD DADS because there are ways they can do it without being exposed.”