JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of a Raines High School football star, who was shot and killed shortly after graduating, believes a recently announced reward is making an impact.
Rashaud Fields’ family hoped more people would come forward with information now that school is in session.
There are still no arrests in Fields’ murder.
Family attorney John Phillips said more tips have come in since they announced the $13,000 reward on Aug. 17.
He described this as a marathon and not a sprint. Fields’ family is optimistic police will catch the person responsible for the murder.
Fields, 18, was gunned down hours after graduating from Raines High School on May 23.
Phillips said there has been some traction in the investigation.
“I have not had the killer or the killers’ best friend say, ‘Hey, I got you. Let’s move forward,’” Phillips said. “But Crime Stoppers has gotten reports, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has gotten reports, we have gotten reports. Justice is coming.”
However, it still leaves Janice and Ronnie Fields with only memories of their son to hold on to.
“That was my baby,” Janice said of her son. “Rashaud was a good boy, a respectful boy.”
“He loved the children,” his father, Ronnie, said. “He loved to play and loved to joke. He was a proud uncle to his nephew.”
Rashaud was shot and killed at a graduation party on May 23 in the Highlands neighborhood.
“He just wanted to go dance and celebrate,” Ronnie said. “He just wanted to have a good time. He even went up to the store and showed his diploma. He was just proud. He knew how hard he worked to make it through.”
“It is hard when you have to go and look at a room, and you do not see a body there,” Janice said. “You do not see a child lying in the bed. I have sleepless days and sleepless nights.”
Rashaud’s parents, aunts, uncles and cousins met at Phillips’ office Thursday morning. Everyone wore shirts with Rashaud’s face on them, bearing a smile they say was infectious.
They were remembering someone they called a superstar of the family.
Rashaud played football in some capacity for most of his life. His first taste of it came during Pop Warner, where a child can play starting at 5 years old.
He was a star player for Raines High School on both sides of the ball and was set to take his talents to Keiser University. Rashaud also wrestled and was an active church member.
“He was just phenomenal at whatever he did,” said Willena Williams, one of Rashaud’s aunts. She adds he inspired so many people at a young age.
“He came from a good home with good principles,” said Stanley McAllister, one of Rashaud’s cousins. “He was given a good foundation. [His parents] gave him the necessary tools he needed to be able to succeed in life and unfortunately somebody took that from him.”
The family is thankful for the community’s support. They’re desperate for answers but remain hopeful.
“This journey is hard for us but [the community] has been so supportive,” Janice said. “Everyone, from the community to the city of Jacksonville.”
“There’s going to be justice for Rashaud Fields,” Phillips said Thursday. “Mark my words.”
According to Rashaud’s family, Raines High School is honoring him during every home football game this season by having his #53 on the field.
Oct. 1 would have been Rashaud’s first home college football game at Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale. The school plans to honor him before kickoff.
Anyone with information about the teen’s murder is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500, Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS or Phillips & Hunt, the family’s civil lawyers, at 904-444-4444.