Vigil honors mother of 4 killed in shooting at Jacksonville gas station

Tayda Smith described as an inspirational speaker, a generous friend and a loving mother

Family and friends gathered Thursday evening to remember a mother of four who was found shot to death at a gas station on Lem Turner Road over the weekend.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends gathered Thursday evening to remember a mother of four who was found shot to death at a gas station on Lem Turner Road over the weekend.

The vigil honoring Tayda Smith, 28, was near pump nine at the Raceway gas station, where she was shot about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

“A heartless person. A heartless person. They took her from us, so soon,” said Elaine Biggins, a close family friend.

People held balloons and wore outfits in her favorite color — purple. The family said they believe Smith was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“It was my mom’s birthday. We were all having fun as a family,” said Conisha Mason, Smith’s cousin.

Mason said the group was driving to a second destination, when Smith stopped at the gas station.

Smith’s loved ones believe she was an innocent bystander in a drive-by shooting.

“She didn’t bother nobody. She worked hard, came home,” Biggins said. “I couldn’t imagine nothing happening to her.”

As they are praying for justice—they’re keeping the memory alive of a loving mother, daughter and friend to many.

“Mother’s Day is around the corner. And we celebrate every holiday together,” Mason said. “So it’s gonna be a tough one.”

Loved ones have described Smith as an inspirational speaker, a generous friend and a loving mother known for her big smile and infectious laugh.

“She’s going to be really missed,” Anisha Haynes, Smith’s sister, told News4JAX earlier this week. “Everybody loved her. She doesn’t have an enemy to this world.”

Smith leaves behind four daughters ages 1 to 9.

Tayda Smith with her children. Photo provided by family.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is active. No arrests have been announced.

Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000, contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).


About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.