JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members on Monday identified a woman who was found shot to death at a gas station on Lem Turner Road as a mother of four children.
The family of Tayda Smith, 28, said they believe she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was shot at the Raceway gas station. Police believe the shooting occurred at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
On Monday, bullet holes riddled pump numbers nine and 10 at the gas station.
Loved ones described Smith as an inspirational speaker, a generous friend and a loving mother. They don’t know why anyone would want to hurt her.
“She’s going to be really missed,” said Anisha Haynes, Smith’s sister. “Everybody loved her. She doesn’t have an enemy to this world.”
Haynes and her mother, Tanika Byrd, tell News4JAX that Smith had a podcast where she would take calls from listeners and pray for them or counsel them.
“She touched a lot a lot of lives. She really [has],” Byrd said.
According to police, Smith’s body was found lying against the gas pump next to a car.
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A News4JAX crew at the scene saw at least six bullet holes in the car and dozens of evidence markers in the back of the parking lot. Several evidence markers were also seen around the car.
“Really shocked because I know she wasn’t into nothing. Didn’t have nobody that wanted to do this to her, so it was really like, you know, like they got the wrong person,” Haynes said.
Smith leaves behind four daughters ages 1 to 9.
“She loved her girls,” Byrd said. “She loved her girls dearly and her girls loved her.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is active. No arrests have been announced.
Witnesses recall hearing gunshots, share concerns about gas station
Residents who lived near the gas station spoke to News4JAX on a condition of anonymity.
“By the time I got to the door, I bet you there were 50 to 70 gunshots that went off,” the first resident said. “It was like someone threw firecrackers.”
Another resident told News4JAX that about two hours prior to the shooting they reported loud music coming from the gas station parking lot.
“We told the police because we’ve done this so long to please send an officer through to run the people with the loud music off,” a second resident said.
The residents say loud music coupled with cars and motorcycles doing burnouts is very common at this gas station on Friday and Saturday nights.
Evidence of a burnout could be seen on the ground of the gas station. And neighbors say damage to a support beam next to a gas pump was caused two Friday nights ago when a car performing stunts crashed into the beam.
Apart from that, News4JAX was there in May of last year when police showed up at the same gas station twice in one night to break up a gathering.
Neighbors tell us that gun violence near the gas station is also a problem. They said that on Friday night, multiple shots were fired near the intersection of Smyrna and Ida streets, which is less than 500 feet from the entrance to the gas station.
According to a JSO crime map, which was adjusted to show crimes within a half-mile radius of the gas station, there has been one homicide, two incidents of shots fired, an armed robbery, five assaults and eight thefts all reported in the area within the last four weeks.
JSO has asked anyone with information to contact JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org or call 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000 contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).