‘Let’s stop adding to the list’: Families touched by gun violence demonstrate to spark change

Rally led by Quench The Violence at corners of Edgewood and Commonwealth avenues

Anyone driving through the intersection of Edgewood and Commonwealth avenues Saturday afternoon likely heard those chants and others from the groups on the corner wearing orange and holding photos of their loved ones -- whose lives were cut short by gun violence. Quench The Violence led the rally, hoping that the chants, signs and pictures would ensure the families’ message was not only heard, but seen.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – “Stop the violence. Stop the killing.”

Anyone driving through the intersection of Edgewood and Commonwealth avenues Saturday afternoon likely heard those chants and others from the groups on the corner wearing orange and holding photos of their loved ones -- whose lives were cut short by gun violence.

Quench The Violence led the rally, hoping that the chants, signs and pictures would ensure the families’ message was not only heard, but seen.

Advocates and families gathered at the corners of Edgewood and Commonwealth avenues Saturday to demand change when it comes to gun violence. (WJXT)

Those families are now left with only memories of their loved ones who were gunned down in Jacksonville.

Melissa Jackson’s son, Corbin, was missing for a year before he was found shot to death in 2019.

“For the last four years, I’ve cried every day about my son because it is unfair,” Jackson said.

Elia Wilson lost his niece in March 2020 when she was just 17 years old.

“She was just a sweet little girl, innocent girl getting ready to prepare for her senior year of high school,” Wilson said.

RELATED: Gun control advocates flood park with orange to draw attention to gun violence

Robert LeCount led the demonstration Saturday afternoon. He founded Quench The Violence in 2002 after his son was murdered.

“We are saying let’s stop adding to the list. It is time to put a stop to it right now. Stop the unnecessary killing,” LeCount said.

News4JAX records show nearly 180 people have been shot so far in Duval County this year.

LeToya McQueen said one person killed is too many. She lost her son, De’Vainte, last summer.

“You don’t know what loved ones you’re taking. You do not know anything. And then with people not telling everybody who did it. My son’s murder is still unsolved,” McQueen said. “For them to sit there and hold back information. That’s wrong. That is what’s wrong with our community now.”

Groups like Quench The Violence, Moms Demand Action and Silent Women Speaking say there are resources available to reduce gun violence, including education, outreach programs and support groups.

These grieving parents, friends and community members just want to see change.

“I just wish we could just value life and understand that this doesn’t just affect one person,” Jackson said. “You affect the whole family. You affect the world when you do that.”


About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.